Oil & Gas UK Legal Conference 2019 Review
By Roger Connon
This conference has certainly come of age with a bigger, better venue and attracting more lawyers working in the Oil and Gas space than ever before. 167 lawyers, some working in private practice and others working for exploration and production companies, infrastructure companies and oil service companies gathered in Aberdeen for this annual legal conference organized by Oil & Gas UK. I attended as Head of Oil and Gas for Vario where we were one of a number of the event sponsors.
Not unsurprisingly, the first sessions delivered by members of Oil & Gas UK’s in-house team set the scene with a Brexit update from the political and regulatory perspectives of leaving the EU.
This was followed by a number of technical presentations on topical oil and gas legal issues by some of the foremost experts working in their respective fields. These included decommissioning; key legal issues relating to joint operating agreements including a thought provoking talk on disputes under these by Reg Fowler; and the exercise of legal privilege with some useful examples and pitfalls to avoid.
Amongst these presentations was time for a number of useful networking breaks and Q&A panel sessions – and it was great to see again so many younger lawyers now working in this area of law.
The day ended with a drinks reception and dinner where the speaker was Deirdre Michie , who is the CEO of Oil and Gas UK. She spoke on the topical issue of the zero carbon initiative by 2050 and the industry’s response just published and amongst others gave Pinsent Masons a shout for their work on a number of legal workshops run by Oil and Gas UK.
Vario sponsored the lanyards for the day which everyone wore throughout the conference and dinner and encouragingly many of our flyers, distributed on each table describing Vario’s business and its support for the oil and gas industry worldwide, were taken away by delegates. An electronic copy of a note from me further describing Vario was also sent out to delegates post-event with copies of all the papers delivered.
In addition to the many general chats at the conference explaining more about Vario, I also spoke to a number of possible new clients and indeed possible new Varios. Everyone agreed that in house legal teams remain significantly depleted but that legal work loads had remained constant. Many agreed that Vario and its freelance lawyers were part of the solution and younger lawyers in particular thought that it was a very appealing way to sell their services as many considered work-life balance issues.
So, as with last year, I was greatly encouraged by the event, the enthusiasm in the room and the notion that Vario definitely had a part to play – this alongside Pinsent Masons’ Oil and Gas team continuing to provide legal services in the traditional manner and Paul McGoldrick, one of our Oil and Gas partners and Neil Hehir , one of our legal directors, were also at the conference to ensure that message too was delivered.
Roger is Vario’s Head of Oil & Gas. He is responsible globally for developing Vario’s hub and service offering within the Oil & Gas industry, demonstrating our commitment to the Energy sector.