Practice Area

Regulatory Compliance and Environment

Regulatory Compliance and Environment

Our regulatory compliance and environment lawyers firmly understand that skilful navigation through unfamiliar laws and regulations, bureaucracy, language barriers and unknown business practices is critical to an organization’s success in the global marketplace.

Our lawyers have specific work experience in regulatory compliance issues and assist both Kazakhstan and foreign business clients in identifying and complying with the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements of state authorities and under international treaties etc.

Lead Practitioner
Service includes the following directions
  • Compliance and Legal Consulting
  • Environmental Matters
  • Due Diligence on Compliance Issues
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Certification of Equipment and Personnel Attestation
  • Immigration Services and Visas
  • Work Permits and Secondment
  • Procurement
  • Land Issues
Signum Law Firm handles corporate and M&A matters, and is particularly active in the oil and gas sector. Liza Zhumakhmetova and Abylkhair Nakipov are the key names.
Legal 500 Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
Signum Law Firm is experienced in commercial, employment, tax and administrative disputes. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is a key name for commercial disputes, while Talgat Sariev handles labour and employment issues..
Legal 500 Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
Signum Law Firm focuses on transactional and contentious issues. Practice head Sofiya Zhylkaidarova has expertise in M&A and subsoil-use contracts.
Legal 500 Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
Signum Law Firm’s team focuses on project and debt financing deals. Liza Zhumakhmetova is noted.
Legal 500 Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
Talgat Sariev is experienced representing clients in disputes with state authorities, including customs cases. He is well versed in tax matters and also represents clients in commercial disputes. Sources refer to his solid and strategic approach to problem solving, saying: "He makes well-formulated, good arguments."
Chambers and Partners, Global, 2018
Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is known by market sources for her "practical advice." She primarily advises clients on financial and regulatory matters related to the oil and gas market. Peers consider her "very impressive" in the sector, saying: "She clearly is an expert, a very, very good specialist."
Chambers and Partners, Global, 2018
“The firm has strong expertise and practice in subsoil use, including in relation to stabilised subsoil use contracts and production sharing agreements. Among their strengths I would also highlight their dispute resolution and litigation practice in civil and administrative cases. The firm has represented us in many and various disputes and litigations, and always demonstrated diligence and proficiency in the subject matter.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Good, responsive, excellent English communications both verbal and written. Good understanding of Western practice.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Excellent work both in analysis and execution. Dedicated and trustable professionals.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Excellent professionals, with wide local and international experience, high standards, focused on results and performance.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Strengths: Tailor made approach from assisting lawyer, accuracy to details, client oriented approach.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“All work is done in the time agreed and follows high standards. The staff of SIGNUM are always available to provide the necessary explanations and feedback. Having three years of experience with SIGNUM, I can’t identify any weakness in their services.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“The SIGNUM team are responsive and helpful. SIGNUM is my go-to law firm in Kazakhstan: commercial and efficient while being legally correct. Sofiya Zhylkaidarova, Liza Zhumakhmetova and Gaukhar Kudaibergenova are all especially strong.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Professional all round corporate law firm covering most aspects of corporate law but with very strong knowledge of oil and gas sector sub soil use law.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018
“Professional and client oriented approach at all levels of management.”
asialaw Profiles, 2018

Experience

Compliance and Legal Consulting
  • Legal advice on regulatory approvals and state waiver matters to Norwegian E&P company regarding acquisition of oil and gas project in Western Kazakhstan;
  • Legal advice for large European construction company in dispute with environment agency, resulting in essential decrease of penalties and impositions;
  • Monitoring regulatory compliance of various oil and gas companies by obtaining all permits, licenses and approvals for petroleum operations required by Kazakhstan law. Role includes assisting in drafting and approval of the project documentation (exploration projects, trial production projects, development programs, technological schemes, reserve approval etc.);
  • Consulting with major oil and gas company on issues regarding drafting its tender documentation on the perspective exploration blocks being announced for tender by the state;
  • Legal advice for Kazakhstani-French joint venture producing uranium in South Kazakhstan Region on different issues concerning incorporation and regulatory compliance;
  • Legal consulting with large mining company on licensing of usage of drug substances, psychotropic substances and precursors;
  • Consulting large telecommunication company on installation of cellular communication in Kazakhstan with focus on conformity to Kazakhstani construction standards;
  • Review of existing practices of a major mining company concerning business’ compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and advising required corrective measures;
  • Legal advice for large off-shore subcontractor on Kazakhstani maritime laws and use of the vessels; drafting and developing the drafts of bareboat-charter agreements, assistance in registering the vessels in Aktau seaport;
  • Legal advice on structuring and implementation of real estate transaction for large construction company;
  • Incorporation and setting up of business for marine transportation company;
  • Representing a major Italian oil-servicing company in incorporation of the joint venture and subsidiary in Kazakhstan, assistance in discussions/negotiations with the local partners; drafting partnership documents;
  • Legal advice for large European company on structuring business in Kazakhstan with focus on regulatory compliance;
  • Legal services to large construction company in litigation with subcontractor on scope of works and estimated costs;
  • Legal services for drafting rules and regulations in accordance with Kazakhstani laws on procurement of goods and services for a number of subsurface-use companies;
  • Legal advice on regulatory compliance (state’s pre-emptive right, antimonopoly consent etc.) required for IPO of international E&P company at KASE;
  • Legal advice on regulatory approvals required by the Kazakhstani authorities for merger & acquisition transaction resulting in 100% share sale of public E&P company (approximately USD 515 million);
  • Legal advice for the client on issues concerning the obtaining of permissions from the competent body, the state’s waiver and the consent of the antimonopoly body on the sale of the participation interest in the production sharing agreement on oil extraction in West Kazakhstan oilfield.
Environmental Matters
  • Litigation: Kazakhstan environmental lawyers representing interests of a consortium of European oil and gas companies in court case with favourable result against illegal actions of Kazakhstan authorities in respect of reimbursement for the damage caused by gas flaring;
  • Legal advice for US catering company on case related to mass poisoning of employees in oil-field camp;
  • Litigation: successful representation of interests of European oil and gas company by environmental lawyers of Kazakhstan in court case against Environment Department on suspension of oil-field camp;
  • Legal advice for European oil gas company, focusing on environmental aspects of construction of pipeline in offshore zone;
  • Legal assistance in obtaining natural use and water use permissions for clients in different sectors;
  • Litigation of European oil and gas company against state authorities in damage reimbursement case on oil spills and well accident;
  • Legal advice provided by Kazakhstan environmental lawyers for European oil and gas company on insurance of environmental responsibility;
  • Legal advice and representation of interests of UK oil and gas company in administrative court case concerning regulation of ecological expertise in trial production project;
  • Legal assistance in obtaining import regulatory approvals for chemicals, precursors and radioactive substances use;
  • Dispute between PSA operator and regional environment protection department – claim to PSA operator on reimbursement for environmental damage (KZT 3.9 billion) caused by illegal production of common mineral deposits.
Due Diligence on Compliance Issues
  • Conducting due diligence on regulatory compliance issues and further legal advice on corrective measures for large oil and gas company;
  • Legal advice for major European oil company on permits, approvals and regulatory procedures established for building of oil pipeline in Kazakhstan;
  • Legal advice on regulatory compliance matters during due diligence of international E&P company prior to 100% sale;
  • Legal advice for major mining company on compliance with all rules, regulations and laws of Kazakhstan;
  • Due diligence and legal advice on labour and regulatory compliance issues for large off-shore subcontractor;
  • Legal advice and guidance for foreign oil and gas company on applicable Kazakhstani regulatory requirements for setting up business, operational or exit strategies and preparation of due diligence report.
Licenses and Permits
  • Legal advice for large European oil company working in Kazakhstan for obtaining operational license on the installation and repair of drilling, oil and gas exploration equipment. Also assisted in the process of expanding the types of activity under the existing license on the performance of technological operations at fields and drilling operations;
  • Legal advice for European oil and gas company on regulatory issues related to gas flaring;
  • Legal advice for large mining company on licensing of activities related to use of drug substances, psychotropic substances and precursors;
  • Legal advice on obtaining medical license for large European construction company in accordance with current requirements of Kazakhstani legislation;
  • Legal advice for offshore contractor on all permissive documentation for construction of artificial island and camp on the Caspian Sea;
  • Legal advice on obtaining variety of licenses for large European company for construction of pipeline from a field to CPF and further;
  • Drafting contract on design and delivery of equipment and materials and construction “on a turn-key basis” according to FIDIC standards;
  • Legal advice on obtaining license for international oil-and-gas-servicing company for radioactive use;
  • Obtaining firefighting license for large international-service company working on off-shore Caspian oilfields;
  • Obtaining oil production license for large European oil and gas company;
  • Obtaining license for chemical use for UK company working on Karachaganak;
  • Legal advice for client on issues associated with obtaining permissions from the competent body, state’s waiver and the consent of the antimonopoly body on sale of participation interest in the production sharing agreement for oil extraction in West Kazakhstan oilfield.
Certification of Equipment and Personnel Attestation
  • Legal advice on and assistance in preparation of all required documentation for certification of equipment for oil production for European oil and gas company;
  • Legal services for certification of production for Kazakhstani paper processing company;
  • Legal services for certification of mining equipment of large mining company in accordance with legislation of Kazakhstan;
  • Legal advice for Kazakhstani-French joint venture producing uranium in South Kazakhstan Region on different issues concerning certification of technical equipment;
  • Obtaining different approvals for project documentation and necessary programs for large construction company;
  • Legal advice on reviewing standard service contracts including equipment and personnel secondment in compliance with the local rules and regulations;
  • Drafting for major German telecommunication company’s regulatory compliance programs and review of existing personnel attestation practice.
Immigration Services and Visas
  • Providing immigration advice and services in connection with obtaining work permits, TRN for a number of companies with foreign specialists;
  • Obtaining residence permits for employees of one large construction company;
  • Providing immigration advice and legal services to one large European company, particularly preparing memo on migration issues and obtaining business visas and invitations to the territory of RK.
Work Permits and Secondment
  • Our immigration lawyers are permanently engaged in monitoring and obtaining work permits for foreign specialists of a number of companies in Kazakhstan;
  • Legal advice for major construction company on preparing documents for obtaining Kazakhstan work permits;
  • Legal advice for oil and gas company on the process of counter-secondment of foreign specialists to the territory of Kazakhstan;
  • Preparation of the secondment agreement for a large global service company in accordance with requirements of the legislation of Kazakhstan;
  • Preparation of memorandum on risk estimation concerning existing secondment structures in mining company;
  • Legal advice for a large uranium producer on regulation of secondments to the territory of Kazakhstan;
  • Legal advice for a large uranium producer on taxation and payment of benefits to seconded employees.
Procurement
  • Legal assistance on procurement of goods and services in accordance with the current legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan for a large oil and gas company;
  • Legal advice for mining holding company on procurement requirements (organization and managing tenders, developing internal corporate documents, procurement rules, tender committee regulations etc.);
  • Legal advice on litigation related to Kazakhstani public tenders and breaches of public procurement law;
  • Contacting authorities on preparing and implementing public tenders and implementing detailed procurement structures;
  • Drafting procurement compliance program for large European service company;
  • Legal advice for a number of companies on clarification of the legislation requirements during procurement and reviewing of the corporate rules to adapt them to the requirements of legislation.
Land Issues
  • Representing the client in negotiations with Almaty state authorities on illegal expropriation of land for state needs;
  • Legal advice for the client – oil company – at acquisition of the land plots for operational base in Aktobe Region, management of whole process from advice on transaction documents to filing the applications for permissive documents required by Kazakhstan legislation;
  • Legal advice for the client – oil producing company – with regard to registration of servitude for farm in Mangystau Region for pipeline construction, including representation to state authorities and in courts;
  • Representing the client – uranium-mining company – on challenging South Kazakhstan Region’s Akimat on the withdrawal of the decision on land rent assignment to the client;
  • Representing the client – uranium-mining company – in court case on claim of forestry authorities concerning damage compensation for destruction of fertile soil layer in connection with illegal forest land use. As a result of our advice, the claim of forestry authorities was rejected;
  • Representing the client – European oil and gas company – in court case on claim of the state authorities on damage compensation for soil destruction as a consequence of oil spills and well accident. As a result of our proposed strategy, the client was exempted from liability;
  • Legal advice for the client – uranium-mining company in South Kazakhstan Region – on legal proceedings required for change of land category, its designation as well as land reservation and servitude execution;
  • Litigation: representing the client – major European construction company – in dispute with land authorities. As a result of successful legal advice, the fine and interest levied on the company were significantly decreased;
  • Representing the client – construction materials producer – in the process of registration of land rights for dead-end track in Almaty Region;
  • Representing the clients – several subsurface users – in land relinquishment procedures, including representation to state authorities on issues of land re-cultivation and other matters deriving from such relinquishment;
  • Health check review of the clients’ activities (in Kazakhstan) concerning regulatory compliance (including review of all permissions, licenses and regulatory approvals required for petroleum operations), assistance in drafting and approval of the design documentation (exploration plan, trial production projects, production programs, technological schemes, reserve approvals etc.);
  • Representing the client during the closing of a business, including assistance in property allocation.

Specialists in the field

Abylkhair Nakipov
Partner

Abylkhair has an extensive experience in advising oil and gas, energy and construction companies.

Practice areas:
  • Contracts and Business Law
  • Regulatory Compliance and Environment
  • Construction and Real Estate
  • Subsoil Use
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Anel Kassabulatova
Associate

Anel is dispute resolution and litigation lawyer.

Practice areas:
  • Dispute Resolution and Litigation
  • Regulatory Compliance and Environment
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Rustam Baitazin
Associate

Rustam mainly focuses on M&A, PPP and corporate law matters.

Practice areas:
  • Regulatory Compliance and Environment
  • Mergers and Aquisitions
  • Public-Private Partnership (PPP)
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Nazym Argynbay
Associate

Nazym's core practice area in tax.

Practice areas:
  • Tax
  • Regulatory Compliance and Environment
  • Employment and Labour
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Aikerim Kaziyeva
Associate

Aikerim is a business lawyer with focus on contracts and employment matters.

Practice areas:
  • Regulatory Compliance and Environment
  • IP and Technology
  • Employment and Labour
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Articles and publications

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