In a speech on 24 November 1992, marking her Ruby Jubilee on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II said, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”

Annus horribilis. This is a moniker that oil and gas insiders might well apply to 2020 given the disastrous effects on the industry from Covid-19 pandemic (“Pandemic”) and its accompanying recession which brought a precipitous fall in demand and price. Indeed, in May the price of crude oil briefly went negative for the first time in history. This was followed by massive layoffs across the board and sharply curbed investments in planned and ongoing projects. Several major oil companies announced profound changes in their long-range focus from hydrocarbons to greener energy.

Brazil’s oil and gas industry was by no means immune from Covid-19´s fallout. In a June 29 communique, the Brazilian Petroleum Institute (“IBP”) predicted that the negative effects of the pandemic would last through the end of 2021. In addition, the pandemic returned Brazil to recession after three years of modest recovery. Despite this adversity, the Brazilian oil and gas sector, led by a proactive National Petroleum Agency (“ANP”), managed to largely maintain focus on long-term industry goals, benefiting from certain short-term regulatory relief discussed below.


Continue Reading When the Going Gets Tough the Tough get Going: Brazil Oil & Gas Thrives Despite the Pandemic

For a brief period in 2009, Angola was Africa’s largest oil producer with production reaching 2 million barrels per day. Current production is around 1.37 million barrels per day. This reduction is generally attributed to (i) naturally production profile declines in major plays, (ii) low oil price environment, (iii) disappointing drilling results, and most recently (iv) Covid-19 pandemic effects.

Angola desperately needs to diversity its oil-dependent economy by capitalizing on its other potential strengths such as mineral extraction and agriculture. Even a strong diversified economy, however, will need a solid oil and gas industry as its base for the foreseeable future.

As keynote speaker at the 2019 Africa Oil and Gas Conference, Angolan President João Lourenço said, “Africa has great unexplored hydrocarbon potential, and . . .  Angola occupies one of the top spots on the continent. The Angolan government is aware of this reality and its potential, [and] considers petroleum and gas as catalyzers for a new dynamic, renewable and self-sustainable dynamic economy.”


Continue Reading Angola’s Back! Five Key 2020 Moves to Increase Oil and Gas Stakeholder Returns

International Petroleum Law and Transactions (Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2020)

Norman Nadorff was invited by Professor Owen Anderson, the book’s General Editor, to write the official review of this seminal work.

The book is an exquisitely organized and richly detailed summary of the petroleum industry and its technology, laws, economics, and agreements. As such,