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Oil and gas - international law

Arntzen de Besche is recognized as the leading Norwegian law firm in the fields of energy and energy sector reform. Arntzen de Besche has worked within the petroleum sector for more than 40 years, and draws from both a wealth of experience on the Norwegian continental shelf as well as in the international petroleum industry.

Governments and national oil companies 

Arntzen de Besche advises resource rich countries on a broad range of issues related to petroleum and mining activities, including constitutional, legislative, regulatory, contractual, policy and strategic issues.

Through providing legal advice to various stakeholders including governments, companies and organisations within the petroleum and mining industries for the past forty years, we have gained first hand insight and understanding of the issues that resource-rich countries face in attracting investors and managing natural resources in a sustainable manner. Through this work, we have also gained extensive knowledge of modern international petroleum law, both on a domestic and on an international level. We draw upon this experience in our work towards providing tailor-made advise in specific domestic and regional contexts.

We have advised numerous governments, their agencies and national oil companies in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East on policy, petroleum legislation, production sharing contracts (PSA), regulatory reform, petroleum sector management and award of exploration and production rights.

On a domestic level, our work includes reviewing and drafting laws, regulations and model PSAs to implement petroleum sector policy, developing and designing regulatory and legal systems for improved petroleum sector management, regulation of interfacing areas such as health, safety and environmental matters related to oil, gas and electricity production, local content, anti-corruption, transparency and accountability issues. We assist in the creation of regulatory bodies and national oil companies. We advise governments in the preparation and execution of bidding rounds, including planning, strategic advice, drafting of the relevant documents, assistance in road shows, evaluation of bids, awards and negotiations. We advise governments and agencies on contractual issues related to PSAs and other contracts used to regulate the relation between government and companies.  

On an international level, we advise on international law issues including the law of the sea, continental shelf issues and international maritime boundary delimitation, cross-boundary fields and state succession. We represent clients both in contentious and non-contentious matters in these areas, advising on the drafting of treaties and negotiations with neighbouring states, with boundary disputes and rights to resources straddling borders, and on negotiation and drafting of inter-governmental and host government agreements concerning petroleum industry investments and cooperation.

Arntzen de Besche also provides training and capacity building, both as an integrated part of our advisory services and on an ad hoc basis. The duration of some of our capacity building engagements has given us a deeper understanding of the many local factors bearing upon energy sector development in various areas and regions.

In addition to their advisory work, our lawyers are also frequently used as speakers on issues relating to international petroleum law and they publish legal articles on such issues.

We co-operate with other advisors within other professions, such as economists and geologists, and lawyers that are qualified within domestic law. If warranted, we have an extensive international network of advisors that we can draw upon to our clients’ benefit.

Oil companies, offshore and shipping

Arntzen de Besche advises oil companies and contractors on international matters. As Norwegian oil companies and contractors are considered attractive partners in international projects, we follow our clients when going abroad. With our broad experience with legislative and regulatory issues in the petroleum sector, combined with our extensive financing, negotiation and contract drafting experience, we advise oil companies on negotiating and drafting production sharing agreements, farm-in agreements and JOAs, international corporate and tax organisation. We advise contractors on international oil and gas development projects, including LNG and FPSO developments, LNG shipping arrangements, service vessels and pipeline projects as well as financing of all such projects. We also advise on international M&A activities in coordination with local counsel.

Lawyers of Arntzen de Besche act both as litigation counsels and as arbitrators in international dispute resolutions, including arbitration in gas sales disputes.