I have to go to Arizona to attend a lecture. It is a long way to go for a single day’s event, so I tack on a few extra days and arrange to go the Grand Canyon.

My driver is a retired police officer, and as we reach the outskirts of Flagstaff a pungent smell fills the car. I ask him what it is.

He laughs. “I’ll tell you what it is. It’s skunk, that’s what that is.”

“Skunk?” I enquire.

“Skunk,” he says “a potent new strain of cannabis. There is a lot of it around these days.”

As we reach the centre of town the smell becomes almost unbearable.

“It is incredible,” he went on. “There must be a huge skunk farm round here. It is incredible they think they can get away with it, in the middle of a big town. And what are the cops doing? They only have to follow their noses to make a bust.”

We reach the traffic lights right in the centre of Flagstaff and there, lying squashed in the middle of the road, is a dead skunk.

We burst out laughing. He grins ruefully “well, I guess there’s a reason it’s called skunk.”

The smell is impossible to remove, and the car stinks of skunk for the rest of the trip.



Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.