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Arvanitis, D (2017) Collaboration and contract management in the context of offshore oil and gas contracts: an English law analysis, Unpublished PhD Thesis, The City Law School, City, University of London.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: collaboration; commercial; contract law; contract management; contracting; contracts; problem solving
  • URL: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19174/
  • Abstract:
    This thesis provides an English law analysis on collaboration and contract management in the context of offshore upstream oil and gas contracts in light of the Maximising Economic Recovery [hereinafter ‘MER’] Strategy. The predominant subject of the thesis is the impact on offshore contracting of the MER Strategy. The thesis firstly considers that the Strategy is not merely another statute to regulate the offshore sector – its impact is of paramount importance because it sets a comprehensive framework for the coming decades until the cessation of operations in the North Sea. The MER Strategy seeks to address the field ‘maturity’ in the North Sea, which causes high extraction costs and questions the current business and contracting model. Secondly, the thesis focuses on the contracting model and relationship among operators and contractors, i.e. oil and gas companies and the supply chain. This niche area of contract law has been in the spotlight of academics and practitioners for many years, and abundant literature exists focusing on so-called ‘risk allocation’ clauses. However, the thesis approaches the subject in an original manner: looking beyond the traditional legal standpoint, it introduces the element of ‘contract and commercial management’ and focuses on the potential of ‘collaboration’. It argues that these two elements are key to the future of offshore contracting in light of the MER Strategy. The explanation of where these two terms ‘sit’ from an academic, practical and taxonomic standpoint is not an easy task. Contract and commercial management is a management-based discipline that goes beyond certain limitations imposed on the role of contract, championed by ‘strict’ school of thoughts on contract law. It perceives the contract to be mainly a device of ‘problem solving’ rather than ‘failure management’. Collaboration is a notion with great potential for contracting in general – and offshore contracting in particular – which nevertheless brings with it substantial challenges that need to be addressed. Collaboration is a crucial concept in the MER Strategy, and the thesis seeks to ascertain its meaning both within and beyond the context of the Strategy. Most importantly, the thesis explores the legal meaning and ramifications of collaboration, since although it is not a legal term of art, it is ‘reflected’ on existing doctrinal notions.