I arrived in the upstream, green but keen, in 1985.

On the first morning, my new boss made clear what my number one priority was: the managing director’s housing problems.

The MD was a German expat, a man of grandeur and self-regard, but charisma also. He was about to move into a new house in Wilton Place. He asked the legal department to handle it, since the personnel department had made a mess of his previous move and he no longer trusted them to do it.

So I spent my first week on the phone to the letting agent, the landlord’s solicitors, the removal firm, the utilities and all the rest, until they were tired of the sound of my voice. It worked, and the MD’s move went like clockwork. 

From that day he treated me as his trusted adviser, not only on small domestic matters, but on large commercial matters also.

At the time I thought this was an easy score, although I was grateful for it. But now I see it differently. Can you trust the advice of a lawyer on a joint operating agreement, if he cannot arrange the reading of a domestic gas meter?

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.