Recent work

Sean Rush EIL has recently acted in regards to the following.

Questus Energy

SREIL was retained by Questus to advise on several New Zealand upstream oil and gas acquisition opportunities throughout 2017 which involved the development of due diligence reports and SPA mark-ups and negotiation.

Confidential FTSE 100 major oil and gas operator

Sean Rush was retained as an expert witness for a confidential London Court of International Arbitration hearing in 2018 relating to a dispute involving an AIPN Model Form JOA and how certain provisions should be applied, under English law, in the light of industry practices arising from offshore activities as evidenced from North Sea practices, policies and contractual arrangements.

Gulf Keystone

SREIL was engaged to advise Memery Crystal client, Gulf Keystone, in regards to amending and restating the ‘Shaikan’ Production Sharing Contract governing operations on the Shaikan oil field, Kurdistan and access arrangements for the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil (Kurdistan – Turkey) crude oil pipeline.

Jersey Oil and Gas PLC

SREIL has advised UK based Jersey on two acquisitions of interests in UKCS oil and gas fields – one from the Administrators acting on behalf of an insolvent Seller and the other from ExxonMobil – both involving creative solutions for decommissioning. Spindletop also advised Jersey on the farm-down of its interest in Licence P.2170 to Statoil and continues to advise in a quasi ‘in-house counsel’ capacity in regards to new acquisition opportunities.

Webster’s Drilling

SREIL was engaged by Webster’s Drilling to provide advice in regards to the evaluation process routinely undertaken by upstream operators for RFPs issued in New Zealand.

New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals

SREILwas engaged to research the tools available to the regulator to encourage greater participation in the petroleum sector by Maori. In doing so we summarised the differing approaches to investment in the petroleum sector, referencing numerous case studies from our international and domestic experience, and aspects of other petroleum regimes and ‘good industry practice’ that provided other tools not previously considered. The full report can be found here Spindletop Report on the Opportunities for Maori Participation in the Petroleum Sector.

Shanta Gold

SREIL advised Memery Crystal client, Shanta gold, in regards to a ‘silver streaming agreement’ to provide funding for its mining activities in Africa, as part of a wider group restructuring and financing package.

Confidential FTSE 250 New Entrant

We delivered a presentation in London to a potential new entrant covering the New Zealand petroleum regime and market opportunities. Our report included:

  • an in depth analysis of the new country entry issues
  • the applicable petroleum legislation
  • native (Maori) title issues
  • a summary of the major producing fields, their owners and commercial dynamics
  • New Zealand’s gas hydrate potential
  • New Zealand’s EEZ potential
  • A summary of petroleum related infrastructure that was being marketed for sale at that time

Mighty River Power

SREIL was asked to provide advice to NZSX listed Mighty River Power on its geothermal drilling programme and, in particular, drilling rig sharing arrangements common in the oil and gas industry and on industry standard drilling contract terms

New Endeavour Resources

SREIL was instructed to consider sale and purchase terms, and associated documentation, for NER’s proposed acquisition of an exploration permit located in Taranaki. In addition, we liaised with our contacts in the London financial markets in regards to funding and with contacts with international oil companies interested in offshore farm-out opportunities

Mosman Oil & Gas

AIM listed Mosman approached Spindletop to assist in a re-draft of an AIPN model form JOA to reflect current practice, New Zealand conditions and certain aspects pertinent to the joint venture. In addition, we advised on aspects relating to Mosman’s proposed acquisition of the Rimu and Kauri fields from Origin.

WHL Energy

We advised ASX listed WHL Energy on the transfer of working interests in an English law JOA applying to an East Africa production sharing contract and drafted a settlement deed in regards to a dispute arising thereunder.

Ulster Energy

We advised Ulster Energy Limited, a potential new entrant international oil company, in respect to the New Zealand petroleum regime applicable to the 2015 Block Offer process


Sean Rush is New Zealand’s first resident member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiator’s global Board of Directors. In addition, he is a member of the committee that is reviewing the AIPN’s 2005 UUOA Model Form having negotiated UUOA’s in multiple jurisdictions and implemented equity redeterminations for operators and non-operators alike. The committee will review the model form over 2016 and provide a re-draft and update of the guidelines.