Friday, October 10, 2008

The Skill and Art of Drafting Oil/Gas and General Mining Contracts

Well as a Lawyer it is really fun for me to prepare, draft or review Contracts.

Maybe, it is like a geologies, when they see rocks or stones whether it still at the ground or at the mountain, or even after it had been polished, placed in a building at the walls or as titles, such geologies can tell many stories about such stone or rocks, the history of it where does it originated and came from and many other interesting stories related to such rocks.

It is also like painters, when they painted something either it is nature, abstract, or whatever imaginations they have captured and visualized it with their paintbrush, such painter seems to be deeply involved and is having fun in drawing such painting.

In my personal experience, this kind of fun, enjoyment and excitement can also happen to us as lawyers when we are drafting, preparing and reviewing legal documents or legal transactions.

The surroundings of their day-to-day place or field of work will shape their perception on what they are drafting. So if we focus drafting contracts related to oil and gas and general mining operations activities, the skill of preparing such legal documents to support the management, the end users, the operations person in the field, is to open widely your imagination but focusing and concentrating on the core of the business operations in the oil and gas, or general mining operations.

For instance, as the business lawyer, we have to be fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the operations person, where they are shaped to be persons who are always rushing to get the operation start without delay, if possible to be done yesterday. In the Oil /Gas as well as in the General Mining operations, the stages of the operations are usually processed through the same pattern of stages starting from general survey, exploration, appraising whether there are deposits which are commercially ready to be developed, or un commercial, or in the oil and gas operations dry hole.

If commercial production is being agreed upon, then development of production, will commence and ready to be stored either in the station gathering if it is oil/gas, or production stock for mining products and after that ready to be sold to the market and make profit.

Well, it sounds very interesting isn’t.

Yes, but please make sure that the risk are high, where there will be sinking fund situation borne by the oil/gas or general mining investors, if they have spent lost of monies for starting up the operation from general survey and exploration stages, but after being appraised in the appraisal stage it is determined, that such location is as non commercial for production.

Accordingly, having said the above, then you or us as a business Oil and Gas Lawyer and General Mining Lawyers, must have full consciousness and awareness from the operations/technical side, the business/ economics / commercial side, as well as the legal aspects, and safety, environmental, local culture perspective must be in such a manner, to maintain balance upon all such significant aspects.

Agung Supomo Suleiman

Senior Partner

Of the Law Firm Suleiman Agung & Co

Blog: http://www.sacolaw.blogspot.com

Email : agungsacolaw@telkom.net

Mobile Phone : 0816830647

Privatization Program of Infrastructure of a Mining Company

It was really an interesting experience when I was involved as one of the legal team in a General Mining Company who wishes to sell out and privatize all of its infrastructure assets that it had build among others its Airport and its airplanes, its Special Harbor including its vessels, its Telecommunications Infrastructure. Why could this occur and why must it occur ?

Well this is the very interesting part of the matter, which really taught and inspired us as to how the real mining entrepreneurs are doing their mining business operations. As we are all aware, the huge deposits of cooper are frequently located in a very remote area in this place of the earth, where no access road nor any other infrastructure are available.

This also occurs on the Copper Deposit which the Mining Company had discovered in the far east part of Indonesia, namely Irian Jaya or Papua , where such location lies on the top of the high mountains of such beautiful island of Papua, which height is approximately 4000 meters above the sea level.

One of the most interesting things of the mother nature, which captured my attention was that in such high places, you, can find many sea fossils, shell fossils, which was processed by the journey of the time and nature to become stones in the shape of such shells fossils.

According to the geologist, these high rough but beautiful mountains, was formerly hundreds or thousand years ago, to be the bottom of the sea or oceans where many sea shells are living.

Based on the process of the movements and activities of the earth, in which according to the geologist, it was the meeting point of the Australian plate structures and Indonesian plate structures, which then emerged up, to the top, and became the High Mountains, as can be seen and shown on the steep lines structures of the rocky stones mountains.

Amazing isn’t it.

This high mountain among others are called Grassberg, which contains huge amount of copper deposits, which are very significant and needed by human mankind, around the globe, especially for electrical devices such as the connection/head of dynamos in a car and or other electrical devices and equipments, telecommunications devices etc.

Due to the remoteness of the places, during the first exploration period, there were no any infrastructure facilities, nor any access roads, starting from the seaport, unto the access roads straight ahead to the very high top places in such mountains where lies such copper deposits.

The weather above the mountains are very unpredictable, which mostly is fogging and covered by fog. In such weather you have to wear your jackets, because it is really cold up there.

During the early beginning of the exploration phase there were also no any airport infrastructure founded in the low land.

We usually call the high mountains where the copper deposit is located, as the High Land and the special ship harbor and the airport as the Low Land.

Accordingly, the Mining Company who operates such Copper Mining Operations, are really entrepreneurs and pioneers who has high visions and guts to start up such operations in such remote area.

In the progress of the production, after several years of production, when such Mining Company intends to increase their production capacity, there comes a stage, where such Copper Mining Company, desires to maintain its cash flows for supporting the continuity of their core business on the Copper Mining.

In reaching such stage the management then after approved by the shareholders, decided to sell out all its already build supports infrastructures, such as the airports and its air fleet, the special harbor and its ships/ vessels, the telecomunication infrastructure facilites, to the potential respective investors whose main business is respectively running and operating such infrastructures.

Thus the Airport Facilities and its airplanes are sold to an Airplane /Airline Investors, the Harbor and the ships /vessels are sold to the professional Shipping and Special Harbor Investors, and the Telecommunications infrastructures are sold to the Telecommunication facilities Companies.

This also includes the Super Market, which was also sold to the Super Market Investor.

Such transactions, involved financing and Bankers, to finance the respective investors buyers to purchase such Infrastructures.

The Copper Mining Company shall then received the Purchase Price of such infrastructures from the Buyers of such Infrastructures to be used to expand, develop in increasing its Production Capacity of the Copper and Gold.

Well we as the Business Companiy Lawyer, are happy and eager to fully support the management goals, by having the responsiblity and legal task to to prepare and review all the necessary legal documentations starting from the Sale and Purchase of such Infrastructures, Legal Due Diligence on all the agreements, licenses, permits, agreements with 3rd parties involved or related to such infrastructures, which includes for instances the proper legal documentation and licenses attached to the Special Harbor and the Ships/Vessels, which we have to go and check with the Directorate of Sea Communication.

These also applies to the Airports and the airplanes where all the necessary documents and licenses and permits have to obtain and checked with the relevant Directorate of Air Communication.

We as Lawyers must also provide the Legal Opinions, reviewing the Financing / Bankers /Loan Transactions and its collaterals for financing purposes of such infrastructures, which are required by the Bankers.

It was really interesting for the Business Lawyers to be involved in such exiting privatization transactions to fully support the management goals and achievement in conducting and maintaining the continuity of the Mining Operations for production.

Well, that is what I have to share with you relating to the privatization of the Infrastructures which once occur and experienced by one of the Big General Mining Companies, who had a Contract of Work with the Government of Indonesia.

Agung Supomo Suleiman

Partner

Law Firm Suleiman Agung & Co

Blog: http://www.sacolaw.blogspot.com

Email : agungsacolaw@telkom.net

Mobile Phone : 0816830647

Experience Conducting Legal Due Dilgence

There were several instances where we were requested by our Client to conduct legal due diligence of our Client who was an Oil Company and Gas Company, who wishes to farm out an undivided portion of its Participant Interest under a certain Production Sharing Contract (PSC) or Technical Assistance Agreement to a potential prospective Oil / Gas Investor.

The most interesting part, of our task before we could make the report of our Legal Due Diligence, is that we have to conduct certain legal due diligence on the legal corporate documents, any and all of the necessary required licenses, permits as well as the necessary oil and gas contracts our Client has signed by with the government of Indonesia (GOI) being represented by Pertamina , and know BP MIGAS.

As a standard practices we also have to check any of the financing or credit agreements/loan agreements including its collaterals it may have entered into so that the potential Investor will be fully aware of the condition of our Client who wishes to request to participate in the development of the Oil and Gas Operations in Indonesia.

We as an Independent Lawyer is also requested to check any third party contracts which our Client is engaged in an agreement or contracts during the period when such Legal Due Dilgence is conducted.

We also will check whether there any legal proceedings either arbitration, litigation or any other legal proceedings that has a material impact on such transactions.

Well those are among others the tasks which we were requested to conduct, when our Client as an oil and gas investor, wishes to farm our portions or all of its undivided Participant Interests under a certain PSC or TAC to a certain potential prospective oil/gas investor, where we also are required frequently requested to provide them with a Legal Opinion.

Agung Supomo Suleiman Senior Partner

Law Firm Suleiman Agung & Co Blog:

http://www.sacolaw.blogspot.com

email : agungsacolaw@telkom.net

Mobile Phone : 0816830647

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