The New Era for Joint Operating Agreement

Christopher Mathews published an article on “Joint Operating Agreements: Understanding different interests and concerns in the wake of Reeder vs. Wood County Energy”


REYKJAVIK, 14 February - Christopher Mathews, PhD student at ISE and the School of Law at Reykjavik University, authored a published article on “Joint Operating Agreements: Understanding different interests and concerns in the wake of Reeder vs. Wood County Energy”, along with Reykjavik University's adjunct professor Dr. Eduardo Pereira . The article was recently published in a special edition of MarIus, the journal of the University of Oslo, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law.


The field of renewable energy transcends science and engineering. Based on Chris' experience, it is indeed an interdisciplinary field, one that encompasses expertise in various areas. In Chris' case, upon earning his MSc in Sustainable Energy from ISE in 2017, he pursued a PhD at ISE and the School of Law, tapping into his previous tenure as a licensed attorney in the United States. According to Chris, this article was based on the work he was involved in back in his master program, 

I took a course on international oil and gas law and looked at issues in joint operating agreement. There was a great deal of concern at this case. Since I had a background as an appeal court judge, this interests me and looked like something I could write about

Chris then added,

Oil and gas are definitely important contributors to the energy market. The shape of energy market is determined by economics and hence, by law

The article describes issues created by a ruling of the Texas Supreme Court that significantly narrowed the scope of operator liability in oil and gas industry joint ventures, which triggered confusion. In his paper, Chris discusses the value of joint ventures, the joint operating agreement for such specific ventures, the allocation of duties and liabilities between both parties, the common procedures, and the outcome of the Reeder case that forms the basis of Chris' paper and its implication moving forward. When the Reeder case was released, it had such significant impact to the existing joint operating agreement (JOA) and for parties negotiating new agreements. As Chris explained during his interview, 

Before Reeder you had a certain amount of risk, but after Reeder, if you say certain things, you have different about of risk. The bottom line is that both parties have to assess their liability and rights according to the changes in law

However, the JOA remains a valuable tool for spreading risk and reward, and forms the foundation of forming such agreement. To read Chris' article, please visit the following link .

Congratulations and thank you Christopher Mathews for such an interesting read!


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