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Moscow Central To Current Baker Botts Russia, CIS Initiative

Growth of Global Energy and European, Asian Enterprises in Region Keys to Increased Activity

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MOSCOW, APRIL 2, 2005 -- As Russia becomes more of a global energy hub, as well as a greater focal point for European and Asian enterprises, Baker Botts has strengthened its Moscow office with two strategic appointments: George Goolsby has been named Partner In Charge of the firm’s business in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); and Steven A. Wardlaw has been named Executive Partner of Baker Botts’ Moscow operations.

“With Russia now receiving investment-grade status from rating agencies, and the push by Russia to be included in the World Trade Organization, we expect to see development of an environment in that country that encourages investment -- both inbound and outbound,” said Baker Botts Managing Partner Walt Smith. “As a major firm operating in Russia for more than three decades, we want to be prepared to support this new development.”

It is Russia’s participation in the energy sector that Goolsby, now Partner In Charge of CIS for Baker Botts, views as one of the major growth areas both for the Russian government and foreign investors.

“No one can, or should, ignore the fact that Russia is optimally located to deliver energy to the world,” Goolsby said. “As big as Russia resources are, and with Europe on one side and China, Japan and Korea on the other side, the country is going to be a major player in this industry going forward. Navigating the legal and commercial issues involved with this new reality requires, among other things, an extensive knowledge of not only energy law but international finance law as well.”

Being prepared is essential in dealing with cross-national matters. Last December, for instance, Baker Botts was hired by Gazpromneft to represent that Russian company in a complex case involving the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Yukos Oil. On short notice, the Baker Botts team, headed by Michael Goldberg, was able to take over a difficult situation and quickly turn it into a positive result for Gazpromneft.

“We are always prepared to be involved in complex international disputes,” said Goldberg, the head of Baker Botts’ International Dispute Resolution group. “By bringing together Baker Botts resources in Moscow, London, Washington and Houston, we were able to quickly analyze the Gazpromneft situation we inherited and develop a strategy that not only proved successful for our client but respected the legal systems of the two countries involved in the issue.

“A key factor in this instance was having a Moscow office and a wealth of lawyers around the Baker Botts network who were familiar with Russia and the international issues we were dealing with, so we could respond to our client’s needs effectively and efficiently.”

In addition to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, the role of energy networks is assuming increased prominence. This allows for the development of Russian reserves that were previously too remote and creates opportunities for owners, operators or financiers of such networks. Similar opportunities will exist when Russia’s power sector is unbundled and liberalized during the next two or three years. The aging profile of Russian power plant, and the need for an expanding base of efficient generation in order to continue economic growth, will provide constant pressure on the government and power companies to create attractive long-term investment opportunities for foreign generators, operators and plant manufacturers.

“Simply put, the scale of natural resources, as well as opportunities in other sectors, are attracting our clients to consider Russian investments,” said Wardlaw, executive partner of Baker Botts’ Moscow office. “However, before they can do that they need to be fully and accurately advised on managing the risks of inward investment, especially in a new and rapidly-developing legal system such as Russia’s. As part of the globalization trend that is bringing foreign capital into Russia, Russian companies are also seeing that their future lies in becoming global players. Particularly in the natural resources and metals sector, but also in other manufacturing industries, Russian companies are looking outside their territories and their markets for expansion opportunities.

“Equally, the growth sectors in the Russian economy are powering Russian companies to increase investment beyond that country’s borders in order to become truly global players,” Wardlaw said. “Our 30-year history in Russia and the former Soviet Union, together with our extensive experience on cross-border projects and acquisitions of all sizes, puts us in a unique position to offer unparalleled legal service.”

Biographies

Michael Goldberg 

George Goolsby 

Steven A. Wardlaw 

About Baker Botts in Moscow

Baker Botts involvement in Russia and the CIS dates back to the 1970s when the firm advised a major energy client on a large natural gas project in the former Soviet Union. The firm officially opened its Moscow office in 1993 to meet growing client demands for legal services within Russia.

About Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P., founded in 1840, is a leading international law firm with offices in Austin, Baku, Dallas, Houston, London, Moscow, New York, Riyadh and Washington. With approximately 700 lawyers, Baker Botts provides a full spectrum of legal services to regional, national and international clients. For more information, please visit www.bakerbotts.com.

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