Virtual Seminar: Disputes under Joint Operating Agreements

Joint Operating Agreements (JOAs) are a cornerstone of all upstream oil and gas investments where more than one investor is involved – which includes the quasi-totality of upstream oil and gas investment opportunities. The JOA, which is essentially a risk allocation model, sets out the fundamental and overarching relationship among the investors from exploration to production.

Disputes under JOAs can arise in numerous scenarios and it is vital for any party to a JOA – whether operator or non-operator – to be prepared, both by ensuring the JOA is appropriately drafted and by having an appropriate dispute resolution strategy ready when a dispute arises. This normally requires the involvement of professional expertise from many different disciplines.

The speakers discussed the results of the recently published AIPN Research Paper “A Global Review of JOA Disputes” which was co-authored by one of the seminar speakers. This Research Paper was circulated in advance of the seminar to all who indicated an intention to participate.

The speakers for this seminar were:

Mr Tim Martin, Managing Director, Northumberland Chambers, Calgary, Canada. Tim has extensive experience as an arbitrator with particular expertise in the energy, oil & gas, project infrastructure and construction sectors. He has been a sole arbitrator, party appointed arbitrator, institution appointed arbitrator and tribunal chair in institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. He has also acted as counsel, mediator, expert witness and strategic advisor in the resolution of a wide range of disputes.

Tim has more than 40 years of experience as general counsel, country manager, finance director, commercial manager and economist, working in more than 50 countries on some of the largest energy projects in the world. He has wide-ranging experience in various legal systems including the common law, civil law, Shari’ah law and the communist legal system. His business sector experience includes: energy, oil & gas, refining, petrochemicals, mining, infrastructure, construction, international trade & investment, regulatory & administrative, compliance (anti-corruption, sanctions and boycott law), and finance & banking.

Tim is a Fellow and Chartered Arbitrator of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a member of numerous arbitrator panels in arbitration institutions around the world. Tim was President of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), a leading international petroleum organization. He is Chair and Founder of the Journal of World Energy Law & Business, the leading journal on international energy and the official journal of the AIPN, which is published by Oxford University Press. He established and chairs the leading international conference on O&G disputes, which is co-sponsored by the AIPN and global arbitration institutions. Tim has spoken and published extensively on dispute resolution and energy issues throughout the world.

Mr Robert Beck, Consultant, Baker O’Brien (Houston, Texas, United States). Robert offers over 35 years of experience in the energy industry, principally commercial affairs in energy marketing and infrastructure management. Robert has Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) experience on six continents: Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Most recently, Robert was a senior advisor to Halliburton, performing due diligence on oil and gas marketing and midstream contracts for acquisitions. Before that, he spent 14 years with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, including 10 years as Vice President of Anadarko Energy Services Company. He was also Business Development Director for Anadarko’s International Exploration Department. Prior to Anadarko, Robert was a consultant for Lukens Energy Group in Houston, in the oil and gas, power, and utility sectors. Before Lukens, he worked for Unocal on power project developments in Asia. Prior to Unocal, Robert worked for AES Corporation in power project development. He began his career at ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas, refinery as process engineer for light ends fractionation and the alkylation unit.

Robert is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. In 2019, Robert achieved a Level 7 Certificate (Regulated Qualifications Framework, RQF, accredited at master’s level qualification) for Legal Experience Training Advanced Professional Award in Expert Witness Evidence (LETAPAEWE).

The event was chaired by Mr Graham Coop, Partner at Volterra Fietta and former General Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat. Graham is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and as a solicitor with higher rights of audience (Civil) in England and Wales. He advises and represents companies, governments and international organisations on international dispute resolution and public international law, with a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure and banking sectors. He currently represents an EU member State in relation to banking measures taken in response to developments arising out of the 2008 global financial crisis. He has appeared as counsel, advocate and expert before a wide range of international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, ICSID, the PCA and the ICC. He is on the UK Attorney General’s list of public international law practitioners.

For any queries regarding the content of the seminar, please email