Information on the draft law, which gives green light to foreign businesses in the development of Russian large deposits, appeared in the press last week (text and explanatory note for amendments to the law “On Subsoil” publicated on the government portal to discuss draft laws).
The subsoil of federal significance includes areas with recoverable oil reserves of 70 million mt, gas ndash; from 50 billion cubic meters. m, gold – from 50 tons, copper – from 500 000 tons.
The subsoil user, under the control of a foreign investor, may, subject to certain conditions, apply for a preliminary consent of the Government of the Russian Federation for the possibility of extracting minerals on a subsoil plot of federal significance (in the case of the discovery of such a site by the user). Consent is issued for 3 years, – explains Mikhail Kazantsev, AB’s partner “Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev &Partners” . – In other words, with the prior consent of the Government of the Russian Federation when opening a subsoil plot of federal significance in the process of geological study of subsurface resources, the subsoil user, under the control of a foreign investor, has the opportunity to extract mineral resources in the subsoil of federal significance without additional agreement. “
It is obvious that preliminary agreement may be refused, the lawyer adds. This will happen if there are signs of a threat to the country’s defense and state security, violation of antimonopoly requirements or the unfavorable state of the subsoil user himself, he explains.
The document, which has already been approved by the Ministry of Defense, the FSB, the Ministry of Economic Development and Rosprirodnadzor, is only logical against the backdrop of the situation surrounding foreign investment in Russia, lawyers believe.
" The purpose of the new mechanism is obvious – to increase the investment attractiveness of Russia against the background of sanctions ", – says Anton Tolmachev, CEO of the law firm " YurPartner " .
One of the goals, believes Anton Tolmachev, – an attempt to soften control against the backdrop of a steady fall in oil and gas prices in world markets. It is also important that geological exploration is very expensive and investments in it are considered to be among the highest risky, notes Tolmachev : So, we can conclude that the state simply decided to shift these costs on the shoulders of foreign partners. “
On the whole, managing partner of the law firm “Prime Lime”, Ph.D. Arik Shabanov , the legislators sought to provide additional guarantees and increase the attractiveness of investment by foreign companies in the search, development and extraction of minerals.
It seems that foreign business really needs guarantees: In the rating of countries listed by the Heritage Foundation on the level of economic freedom in 2014, Russia took 143rd place out of 178 possible. At the end of 2014, the country scored 52.1, and although it is 0.2 more than last year, the country, according to the compilers, remains “relatively closed for investment”, and the guarantees of private property “have undergone minor changes with the fall of communism. “
With respect to foreign investments in geological exploration, the problem is not the absence of legal mechanisms regulating the participation of foreign investors in the development of deposits, but in the correctness, legality and validity of the actions of state bodies in relation to such investors, notes Shabanov : “Quite often state bodies abuse the law, use legal instruments in violation of the balance of interests of a foreign investor and the Russian Federation. In other words, the problem is not the absence of mechanisms for legal regulation, but the validity of their application to a particular foreign company. “
The cases of refusal to grant the right to use the developed deposit were earlier and, as a rule, were of a political nature: such measures affected the fields: “Dry Log”, “Udokan”, “Sakhalin-3”, resembles Shabanov < / strong>.
In addition, there is often an increased interest in actual fields, for example, in the case of the Sakhalin-2 and Sakhalin Energy, which is a shareholder of Shell . Interest was expressed in recalling a previously issued positive conclusion, conducting a number of inspections for compliance with licensing requirements, adds the lawyer.
Recently discovered deposits
The deposit. Filanovsky in the Caspian (" Lukoil ")
Sevastyanovo in the Irkutsk Region (" Rosneft ")
" Great " in the Astrakhan region (AFB Vitaly Vantsev)
" Winning " in the Kara Sea (“Rosneft” and ExxonMobil).
according to " Vedomosti "
Wait for change
Despite the bright goals, the bill is hardly worth expecting any significant changes, experts agree.
The influx of foreign investors into the geological exploration area can be significantly increased, Arik Shabanov assumes . At the same time, Anton Tolmachev remarks, Russian businesses will not be bothered by the problems: Russian companies are practically not engaged in geological exploration, so the niche in the market is still empty. Perhaps this is even the opposite, the intervention of foreign players will stimulate the accompanying industries and create new jobs, the lawyer suggests.
That our resources will be “snapped up” " foreign businessmen, there is no need to worry, he believes: “First, from the stage of exploration to mining, decades often pass, and extraction and reconnaissance will be impossible without infrastructure, and this will require the help of domestic business. p>
04.08.2015 Material from the site https://pravo.ru/story/view/120742/