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The exploitation of mineral and petroleum resources involves substantial risk. The resources joint venture provides a commercial opportunity to manage this risk. It is a particular legal relationship: an association of persons (natural or corporate) to engage in a common undertaking to generate a product to be shared among the participants. Management of the undertaking is divided: the participants determine some matters by agreement at the outset of the relationship; the power to determine other matters is vested in a committee on which the participants are represented and entitled to vote; a manager (or operator) is appointed by the participants to conduct agreed activities, on their behalf, within the scope of the common undertaking (exploration, development production).
This subject examines the legal issues involved in this complex relationship, together with ancillary transactions (such as farmouts). In doing so, it considers the capacity of the common law to respond to commercial imperatives. It also evaluates the effectiveness of legal documentation employed in establishing the joint venture relationship.
The lecturer, a former Dean of Melbourne Law School, has published extensively in the fields of energy and resources law and served as President of the Australian Mineral and Petroleum Law Association.
Principal topics include:
- Statutory titles, government agreements and production-sharing agreements
- Joint ventures and operations
- Unit development
- The operator/manager
- Fundamentals of contract law and property law
- Disclosure and confidentiality
- Sole risk
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles relating to selected project structures and transactions employed in the exploration for and exploitation of natural resources in Australia and overseas
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal principles
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the commercial factors driving the evolution of the legal framework for such project structures and transactions
- Have an advanced understanding of situations in which legal disputes may arise within these project structures and transactions
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating such project structures and transactions, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues arising from the use of such project structures and transactions in Australia and overseas
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding such project structures and transactions to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of resources joint ventures.
Last updated: 4 May 2022