Kiwi lawyer joins global petroleum negotiators’ board

by NZ Lawyer11 May 2016
New Zealand lawyer Sean Rush has become the first NZ resident to join the Board of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.

Rush, founder of New Zealand’s only boutique oil and gas legal practice, Spindletop Law, said he’ll aim to promote New Zealand as a preferential investment opportunity in his new role.

“Despite current oil prices, with New Zealand’s offshore acreage 6 times larger than the UK’s prolific North Sea resource, New Zealand is well placed to be an investment destination of choice for multi-national explorers taking a long term view,” he told NBR.

“New Zealand’s own petroleum sector experience is a good one and includes the labour intensive construction of the Kapuni and Maui pipelines and the success in Taranaki all without a major spill or undue environmental event to date.”

Spindletop Law was established in Wellington in 2014, as the price of oil plummeted.  Rush said that as cost control became a big focus for large oil companies, it was an ideal time to build a low-cost business, servicing the international petroleum sector.

The firm focuses on oil and gas joint ventures, acquisitions, developments, gas sales and desputes.  Having worked in the petroleum sector in London, the Middle East and Canada, and as Todd Energy’s upstream commercial manager, Rush is experienced in the global petroleum market.

“With gas producing half the carbon emissions of coal per unit of electricity produced, the opportunity to export gas to less fortunate countries who are dependent on coal for their primary energy needs is perhaps the best thing New Zealanders can do to reduce global carbon emissions, and at the same time provide New Zealanders with employment opportunities and royalty revenues,” Rush said of his new role.

“There are many international examples of how a vibrant petroleum sector in partnership with a stable and transparent Government can make a meaningful difference to ordinary people’s lives by providing sustainable employment, tax and royalty revenues whilst maintaining the highest level of health and safety standards.

“While petroleum negotiation is a more niche market in New Zealand than in other countries there is still ample opportunity for legal and commercial professionals here to benefit from membership.”