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Norman Nadorff shared with us that the ARCO International Legal Department produced several lawyers who made their mark. In this story we talk to Harry Sullivan, who has an interesting career spanning private and public work.
Harry Sullivan currently works at Kosmos Energy in Dallas, and since 2013 he has also taught oil and gas law specific courses at SMU Law School and Texas A&M Law School in Fort Worth.
“When I went to law school,” said Harry, “you picked up writing and contract negotiations skills once you were practicing. Now the firms want the applicants to arrive with these skills. I am teaching basic oil and gas law this semester at Texas A&M Law School and International Oil and Gas Negotiations at SMU Law School. Oil and Gas Negotiations is a hands-on course where students negotiate oil and gas specific issues with one another using different simulations such as joint operating agreements or contracts with the government of Tanzania. Students play the roles of government and oil companies,” said Harry.
Harry brings in guest speakers at different times. He finds that students like guests, and team teaching and seminars allow for some great chemistry. “It is nice too,” shares Harry, “if people disagree on an approach. That is real life. It is good to see these different approaches. I like teaching a lot, but I don’t wish to be a pure academic. I like bringing some real life experience into the classroom setting. You can get rusty very quickly out of industry. For people like me teaching from a practical perspective, you must keep your hand in the business,” said Harry.
I see teaching as a way to help the next generation of oil and gas lawyers and to give back some of the great experience and learnings from my careers at ARCO and COP
“The main complaint companies have of new graduates is that they don’t write well,” continues Harry. “Texas A&M has taken that on board and has specific courses to make sure graduates can write a contract. Course offerings now include an oil and gas contracts drafting course, a real estate drafting course, intellectual property drafting courses, and other courses which focus on practical teaching.”
Universities are focusing on the idea of experiential learning. Harry has found a niche teaching students to draft agreements, clauses in agreements, tailoring agreements, and writing letters. “Frankly,” finds Harry, “most law schools teach you about disputes, but they don’t teach much about doing transactions, which is where most of the real-life negotiating occurs.”
Harry has been doing gas work throughout his career. He was with ARCO from 1984, and then he transitioned to Phillips about six months after the BP acquisition of ARCO. Harry travelled frequently, and has had his home in Dallas since 1989. With COP, he commuted from Dallas to Houston and travelled frequently and for long periods of time. COP graciously allowed Harry to work from home while teaching at SMU. In 2014, Harry retired from COP to teach more and joined Kosmos on a part-time basis, ending his commuting lifestyle.
The change from COP to Kosmos was "night and day".
The change from COP to Kosmos was “night and day” said Harry. “Kosmos is 200 employees or less worldwide. Kosmos is focused on exploration and creativity. Their initial success was in Ghana. That was phenomenal. I joined them right before they drilled a significant gas discovery well in Mauritania and then in Senegal. I am supporting the effort to monetize the gas discoveries in Mauritania and Senegal. Steve Sills (ex-ARCO) is our engineering expert and in addition Kosmos hired Greg Beard (ex-ARCO). I did gas sales contracts with Greg in Indonesia and China in the ARCO days. Greg left Noble in 2015 and helps Kosmos with gas marketing which has been his expertise since the ARCO days.” remarks Harry.
Harry’s ARCO memories include the many international projects in Indonesia and China., as well as LUKARCO projects. Harry was involved setting up a joint venture in 1995 between LUKoil and Arco called LukARCO. LUKARCO had an office in Moscow and Amsterdam. ARCO sold its LUKoil stock before BP took over, but the LUKARCO enterprise stayed. BP acquired the joint venture when it bought ARCO and gradually sold out to LUKoil. COP did almost the same thing as ARCO and bought LUKoil stock in the early 2000s, and had a seat on the board.
Looking at his role, Harry finds that the challenges have definitely changed. With the downturn people are looking much more carefully at contracts and ways to get out of contracts. It is also an interesting time in the LNG long term sales business as it faces a number of significant challenges, including the emergence of a shorter-term commodity business. “Contract drafting is not a static thing.,” explains Harry.
People dream up new ideas all the time. You have to be on guard all the time and understand what contracts are doing and any unintended consequences
“While I was at ARCO, I took a great course at SMU when working on my law master’s degree,” remembers Harry. “It looked at science, technology and law. Law is always behind technology. The law relies on principles which often have to be adapted to meet evolving technology. As an example, when oil was first discovered in the mid-1800s, the law was behind in addressing this new technology. Courts adapted existing principles to create the rule of capture. This empowered the oil industry.” shares Harry.
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On the morning of Aug. 25, 2016, Steven Massey passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Steve was born in Frederick, Okla., on Sept. 16, 1949. He was the first born of Clarence and Ann Massey. Steve served honorably in the United States Marine Corp from 1970-1974, attaining the rank of Sergeant, and in the Reserves from 1974-1976. He was awarded the Purple Heart for meritorious service in Vietnam.
Following his military service, Steve pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University, graduating in 1976. There, he met his wife, Pamela Jeanne Picquet. They were married in 1976, and at his passing were 10 days shy of celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. They have three beautiful children together: Robin, Catherine and Alan.
Steve found success in the oil industry and began his 25 year career with Atlantic Richfield Company in Channelview, Texas. He then transferred to the North Slope in 1984; to Midland, Texas, in 1991; and to Bakersfield, Calif., in 1993; returning to Alaska in 1996. He retired in 2001, following the sale of ARCO. He started at ARCO in 1975.
In our look at what ARCO alumni are doing post ARCO, several of our interviews spotlight individuals who used the expertise and knowledge they gained in the industry to support education and the arts.
Norman Nadorff was at ARCO from 1989 until he transitioned to BP in 2000. In 2006, he was tasked with managing BP’s legal department in Angola. Soon after his arrival in Luanda, special circumstances arose that enabled Norman to propose and spearhead the creation of Africa’s first post graduate (LL.M.) program in oil and gas law at Agostinho Neto University (ANU).
"I had been in Angola for less than 60 days. I was busy managing a legal department and growing it in order to adequately serve two major deep-water projects in different states of development. I had plenty on my plate at the time, and thus, was not looking for additional challenges."
Opportunity seldom knocks twice, and when it does you need to strike and presume you will somehow find the required time and energy.
Norman recalls the fateful events as follows: “One morning, Government Affairs invited me to a meeting at the ANU law school. I was a bit surprised to hear that BP wanted to create an ethics and transparency institute. Within an hour I was back with Government Affairs arguing that what the law school, and more importantly, Angola, needed was an oil and gas law program. Indeed, at the time no oil and gas law courses were offered anywhere in this oil-driven country. That same afternoon I found myself describing my vision to the law school’s senior administration and senior BP Government Affairs executives from London. During the meeting I volunteered to create the course syllabus, recruit foreign law professors and to teach at least one module myself. By then I knew the toothpaste was out of the tube and there was no going back,” says Norman.
The LL.M. program is now in its tenth year and has graduated over 200 professionals. The program in general employs a pragmatic approach to instruction. For example, Norman says, “I teach Drafting and Negotiating International Petroleum Agreements, which I tell my students should really be called, 'How I Do My Job 101.' Instead of talking about model international and gas agreements, we apply them to practical, factual situations and roleplay their development and negotiation. Unlike their counterparts who attend expensive overseas LLM programs, AUN’s students benefit from Angolan course content and enviable in-country networking.”
Norman is also proud of developing junior local staff in Angola. When he first arrived, BP had only two freshly-minted Angolan lawyers. At its height, BP Angola’s legal department had two expatriates and eight Angolan lawyers. Today there are no expats, and the department is headed by a graduate of the LLM program whom Norman recruited. Virtually all of BP Angola’s lawyers graduated from the program as well.
BP is the only major oil company in Angola that has a completely national law department.
The result of nationalization of the legal department has been a dramatic reduction in legal costs and a drastic increase in individual professional responsibility for BP’s lawyers,” says Norman.
Norman entered the oil and gas business in 1985. He was working for DuPont soon after the company purchased Conoco. “Conoco was heavily involved in Angola and needed someone who spoke Portuguese,” recalls Norman. “I went to Houston and interviewed with Conoco, and the rest is history. Within four months, I was working in Angola doing complex oil and gas work arguably beyond my experience level. But I loved the oil and gas industry and found it much more interesting than manufacturing.”
ARCO had a different culture from other companies, and I felt appreciated in all the assignments I undertook.
Norman joined ARCO in 1989, filling a vacancy caused by the international Company’s move from Los Angeles to Plano. Once again, Norman’s language skills secured him this position.
Those were my Golden Years. I absolutely loved working at ARCO and wish it could have stayed independent.
"Perhaps my most memorable assignment was going to the Amazon rainforest to investigate why two teams of ARCO contractors had been kidnapped within 10 days in two separate incidents,” shares Norman.
Today, Norman is living in Houston where he has established a private law practice specializing in international petroleum transaction and compliance work. He is also a frequent speaker in the U.S. and overseas, including a speech at NAPE earlier this year titled, “Forget the Beverly Hillbillies: How Petroleum Agreements Work (and Don’t) Overseas” and many presentations on developing local talent.
Looking back on his career, Norman believes: “In addition to grabbing opportunities, it is also about networking.” As he often tells his students and other audiences, “even when you are not working, you can still be networking.”
We love to share what our members are up to! Update your profile with your interests, endeavors and accomplishments and please share your stories and pictures when you connect with other former ARCO colleagues.
Paul Fairchild and his wife Carol have lived in Anchorage since 1991. Paul worked for ARCO from 1973 until the BP purchase, at which time he was hired as a BP employee. He then worked for Phillips and then ConocoPhillips. Paul retired from CPAI in August 2007 after 34 years of service.
I worked as a Consulting Engineer until this most recent oil price crash. When oil prices rebound sufficiently, I look to return to active consulting work.
Carol and Paul enjoy traveling, halibut harvest and shrimping from their boat "Sweet Disposition," and wintertime cross-country skiing. Paul is also working on renewing his private pilot medical license and returning to private aviation. Their two sons are married and live out of state. They have an eight year old grandson and another on the way.
Steve Freeman relocated from Nigeria this summer and is now Chevron's China Country Manager, based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Steve joined Unocal in June 2000, and after stints as GM Strategic Planning and VP, Production and Reservoir Engineering, he worked on the merger integration team with Chevron. Since joining Chevron, Steve has held several posts including Principle Advisor, GM, North America Reservoir Management, GM, Global Upstream Organizational Capability, GM Southern Africa Gas, Gas Director, Nigeria/Mid-Africa (resident in Lagos) and as of July, his role in China. On a personal note, Steve married Cristy Nelson on January 1, 2001, and their son Carter will start sixth grade in China.
I moved with my family to China where I am Chevron's China Country Manager. It's been a wild ride since ARCO - I have no complaints.
Mike Haas shares that he has been with Saudi Aramco since February 2004. "Nothing has changed other than I am getting older! I enjoy reading and seeing pictures of the different ARCO events," says Mike. "Saudi Aramco appreciates gray hairs and experience."
I always tell my boss I would leave tomorrow if I did not like the job or people, but so far it has been great on both accounts.
Paul Tucker works in Midland for Occidental Petroleum on a 5x5 schedule and has a home in New Mexico, where he hopes to one day retire. Before Midland, Paul was Construction Superintendent with Oxy Oman in the Mukhaizna Field, heavy oil project.
Chris Lunsford is working pipeline issues in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey for BP.
Gary Light has been Founding Partner at a firm in Lubbock, TX since 1995. He enjoys jogging and biking and competed in the Hotter-N-Hell Hundred bike ride in 2006, and ran the San Antonio half marathon in 2007.