The L-Word

After an arduous business trip, it is always a relief to board the plane home. It is an added pleasure to encounter a friendly and outgoing oilman.

Seated next to me on the flight home from West Africa was an American driller. He had spent the last three weeks managing an offshore drilling operation. Things had gone well, and now he was on his way home to Oklahoma via London for a three week break.

For about an hour we drank wine while we swapped jokes and stories. Then he asked: “What is it that you do, exactly?” I replied that I was a lawyer by trade, and was involved in the negotiation of one of the new deepwater PSAs.

His face and his attitude changed in an instant. “A lawyer?” he said, “What in the world am I talking to you for?” And that was that. He did not look at me or say another word to me for the rest of the flight.

I would love to know what had lead to his hatred of lawyers. I prefer to believe it was the result of a messy divorce in the States, rather than his encounters with lawyers in the oil business. But my curiosity remains forever unsatisfied.

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.