By Gonzalo Olivera and Alberto Artés King & Wood Mallesons’ Madrid office.

Description of domestic sector

1. Describe the domestic natural gas sector, including the natural gas production, liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage, pipeline transportation, distribution, commodity sales and trading segments and retail sales and usage.

Spain is a renowned gas importer, with less than 1 per cent of the gas consumed within the country coming from domestic production. Spain received natural gas from 11 different countries in 2015, Algeria being the main supplier (55 per cent) followed by France (13 per cent), Qatar (9 per cent) and Nigeria (8 per cent).
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By Gonzalo Olivera and Alberto Artés King & Wood Mallesons’ Madrid group.

Market framework

1.Who are the principal government participants in the electricity sector? What roles do they perform in relation to renewable energy?

At state level, the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda (MINETAD) is in charge of proposing and executing government policies in relation to energy.
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By Louis Chiam King & Wood Mallesons’Melbourne office.

The Australian energy markets are in a state of turmoil. The regulatory and governance arrangements in electricity and gas that have served us well for two decades are facing a host of challenges. From sudden increases in electricity and gas prices and a spike in unplanned outages, through to the increasing calls for more action on carbon emissions and the rise of disruptive new technologies, it seems pressure is everywhere.
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By Odette Adams, Christina Crossman and Lauren Murphy  King & Wood Mallesons

​The Finkel Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market was released on 9 June. The Report makes some 50 policy recommendations to address the so-called “energy trilemma” – providing affordable, reliable and low emissions electricity for the country.

We have reviewed the recommendations by sector to bring you the probable, real-world implications of this “Blueprint for the Future”. The detail is in the Report, however, and we suggest reading the relatively short sections before each recommendation to understand them fully. 
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By Fernando Badenes, King & Wood Mallesons’ Madrid Office

The last step of the reform of the electricity sector carried out by the Spanish Government has been the final straw. That step was the enactment of a Ministerial Order that has set the parameters of remuneration for different renewable energy technologies. This regulatory change supposes the retrenchment of the profitability that the Spanish state had promised and stimulated and which had been the reason for fresh private equity funds in the sector. This change of regime was initiated some years ago by the Spanish Government with the aim of reducing the tariff deficit of the system and has triggered foreign alarms to investors who had invested in the renewal energy sector relying on the Government’s promises on keeping premium fees throughout the lifetime of the plants. These investors have now initiated arbitration proceedings under the protection of the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) to claim from the Spanish State fees lost as a result of this change of regulation.
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By Elaine Gibson-Bolton and Rahul Saha, King & Wood Mallesons’ London Office

gibson-bolton_eThis article provides an overview of the unbundling obligations under the European Union (“E.U.”) Third Energy Liberalisation Reform Package (“the Third Directive” or the “Third Package”) as applied to Transmission System Operators (“TSOs”) and describes the Great Britain (“GB”) reforms to these rules, following a 2013 European Commission working paper.

The Third Directive, introduced by the Commission in 2009, actually comprises two directives: Directive 2009/72 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity1[i] (the “Electricity Directive”); and Directive 2009/73 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas[ii] (the “Gas Directive”). E.U. Member States were required to implement the directives by 3 March 2011[iii]except for the provisions on unbundling TSOs, where Member States were given until 3 March 2012 for implementation.[iv]
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By King & Wood Mallesons Oil & Gas Team

The Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment (2015 Revisions) (NRDC & MOFCOM Order No. 22) (《外商投资产业指导目录(2015年修订)》〔国家发展和改革委员会、商务部令第22号〕) (“2015 Catalogue”), issued by the National Development & Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”), takes effect April 10, 2015, and revises some investment categories affecting the oil & gas sector. Among these revised categories are those affecting investments involving enhanced oil recovery technology (“EOR”), as well as seismic companies, drilling contractors and well service providers. In addition, other changes appear to further clarify that investments into shale and other unconventional oil & gas projects are governed by the same rules and restrictions as those applying to conventional oil & gas investments.
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By Dina Yin King & Wood Mallesons’ Mergers & Acquisitions Group

MLR approval no longer required for exploration / exploitation of mineral resources in China in the form of a Sino-foreign joint venture

The State Council’s decision, made public on February 15, 2014, eliminates further administrative approvals in the domestic minerals industry and confers administrative powers to government authorities at a lower level (the “Decision”)(1). According to the Decision, certain items which previously required approval from ministerial level authorities now no longer require such approval.
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