About the Project

The Norwegian resource management model is often considered a successful example of how to manage hydrocarbon resources. The Norwegian government allowed a progressive development of its natural resources, built industry knowledge and saved reserves and revenue for future generations. This approach is often referred to as the ´Norwegian Model`.

The Norwegian hydrocarbon policies and the license regime are often cited as important factors contributing to the success of Norwegian resource management. However, other factors, such as the political system, demography, social issues, government structures, community support, naval traditions, amongst others, might also have played an important role.

Norway and the UK started their North Sea exploration activities almost at the same time, and both countries adopted a licence regime as basis for resource management. Nevertheless, the Norwegian and the UK resource management models also differ in many respects.

A first and intermediate objective of this research project is to analyse the regulatory models for petroleum resource management, including the evolution of the license systems, in Norway and the UK as two neighboring and mature petroleum provinces. This analysis aims to make a contribution to understanding why and how the Norwegian and British Governments decided to develop their natural resources in the manner chosen. Furthermore, we believe that an analysis of the regulatory models for petroleum resource management in two important and mature petroleum provinces should in itself be of interest for petroleum law practitioners and academics.

While the “Norwegian Model” generally appears to be a popular example, and to some extent an inspiration, for the development of new resource management models in emerging petroleum provinces, it is our general impression that the British model has been less commonly referred to as an example for the establishment of new models. This impression raises at least the following questions: (1) To what extent are the Norwegian and British models being applied as examples or bases for the the establishment of new petroleum resource management models within other jurisdictions? (2) To what extent are the Norwegian and British models suitable for replication within other jurisdictions and which precautions should be taken in replicating these models?

The two questions set out above raise challenges that go far beyond the area of law. This applies in particular to the second question, as the relevance of one resource management model for the construction of other models also will rely on a number of non-legal factors, such as economy, political system, demography, social and cultural aspects, etc.  The project will include one section describing the factual background for the development of hydrocarbon policies for each jurisdiction. In the subsequent legal sections we will then endeavour to link the development of each legal regime to the factual background of each country. On this basis, we believe that a comparative legal analysis as such may contribute to shed important light on the two questions above, although it will not be possible to provide a firm answer to all aspects of the questions.  

In order to understand in practical terms the positive and negative experiences in replicating the Norwegian and British models outside their jurisdictions, this project will compare the North Sea experience with a number of other chosen jurisdictions. In making a selection between many potential oil and gas jurisdictions outside the North Sea as basis for our analysis, we have so far decided to focus on the key Portuguese speaking countries, namely: Angola, Brazil, Mozambique, East-Timor, São Tomé and Príncipe. The preliminary choice of countries was based on the following rational: first, all of the countries are relevant producers of oil and gas or possess a relevant potential for oil and gas activities. Second, all of them share the same historical heritage as they were colonised by Portugal. Third, they allow for an interesting comparison among different regions and continents. Fourth, nearly all of these countries have cooperation with Norad. Fifth, all of these examples could provide an interesting output for their ´old colonizer` as Portugal is looking to design/adjust its legal framework to explore oil and gas within its territories. Finally, we decided to include Nigeria to complete the target countries as it is relevant to include one of the main oil producers in Africa and probably one of the best examples to analyse the managing resources of an oil rich nation in Africa.

A second and intermediate objective of this research project is consequently to analyse the regulatory models for petroleum resource management within the jurisdictions chosen outside Norway and the UK.

On the basis of the work carried out under the intermediate research objectives set out above, the ultimate research objective of this project is to analyse from a legal perspective to what extent the Norwegian and British models could and should be applied as guidance for other petroleum regimes. In this respect, we will also seek to analyse to what extent the non-legal facts (e.g. economy, political system, demography, social and cultural aspects, etc) have influenced the development of each legal regime, and how this affects the overall question of  whether legal regimes could and should be applied as models within other jurisdictions.

This project will not analyse every detail of national hydrocarbon policies, laws and related agreements, as such apporach would make it difficult to finalise the project within a reasonable period of time. Therefore, the project will rather focus on some key aspects of the licence regime (and or other applicable regimes as the case might be) and its implications for the hydrocarbon laws; namely State participation, local content, revenue management, government take, fiscal policies and joint venture standard agreements and the relationship between these issues and the political/economic/social background of each country.

Therefore, the project will provide valuable information as the outcome will be able to shed light on the question to what extent the Norwegian and British models could be used as a positive and constructive guidance for other petroleum regimes and what reservations and precautions should be taken before replicating those models.

Published Apr. 26, 2016 12:07 PM