Creating Joint Ventures in the Oil and Gas Industry – Lessons Learned from BP’s Entry to Russia

Last week’s CEPMLP Wednesday Visiting Speaker was Mr Norrie Stanley, a former SVP for BP Gas, Power and Renewables. On 21 February 2018, Norrie gave a very insightful presentation on the topic: “Creating Joint Ventures in the Oil and Gas Industry – Lessons Learned from BP’s Entry to Russia”.

Qualified as a Chemical Engineer, Norrie Stanley has an MBA from Strathclyde University and is a Chartered Management Accountant with rich experience in the Oil and Gas industry.

During his presentation, Norrie shared his experience as the head of BP's operations in Russia following the fall of the USSR.  He shared with the students and staff of CEPMLP and the University of Dundee the struggles and benefits that came with taking risks and investing in, what was then a frontier market.  The experiences that he and the dedicated executives at BP went through yielded lessons that are as relevant now as they were then.  Norrie provided what turned out to be a case study in the need for accurate information and intelligence regarding local customs and the local business environment is particularly needed in frontier markets.   He explained that conflict, strife and turmoil during the course of an investment can be managed as long as they are understood and accounted for.  His candid and detailed explanation of the lessons learned proved both instructive and relevant for all businesses that are looking to invest in new and risky markets.  The most important lessons where to make sure one is flexible and able to change and adapt as situations in the frontier market change and to ensure that all partners to a Joint Venture understand both what they are hoping to get out of an arrangement and what the other party (or parties) are looking to get out of an arrangement.  He explained that by and large, all Joint Ventures have a shelf life.  The typical Joint Venture lasts, on average, seven years.  If one plans for and accepts this fact, it is possible to enter into and prosper in almost any frontier market.

The presentation was chaired by Dr Xiaoyi Mu, a Reader in Energy Economics and MSc Programmes Lead at the Center for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law Policy.

Photo shows Dr Xiaoyi (Shawn) Mu (far left front row) and Mr. Norrie Stanley (middle) in a group picture with students of CEPMLP.