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Portrait of Matthew Culver

Matthew Culver

Head of Oil and Gas, Middle East

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Matthew Culver is Head of the Oil and Gas Practice Group in the Middle East and is based in the Dubai and London offices.

Since setting up the Dubai office in 2012, Matthew has advised on a number of high value projects in the Middle East region including in Iraq and Kurdistan. 

He advises on the acquisition and disposal of oil and gas interests worldwide (upstream, midstream and downstream) and on joint venture arrangements, including all aspects of joint operating agreements such as operatorship, pre-emption, assignment, default and withdrawal. Matthew is a contributing editor of the Getting the Deal Through – Oil Regulation – Iraq publication and CMS Middle East is co-founder of the DMCC ‘Energy Club’ based in Dubai.

Prior to his move to Dubai, Matthew worked in the London office of CMS for 12 years. During that period, he spent time on secondment with BP, ExxonMobil and Talisman. He assisted ExxonMobil in the sale of a number of its North Sea interests and worked with BP on its TNK joint venture. He has advised a number of oil and gas companies on various acquisitions and divestments in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, United Kingdom (offshore and onshore), France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Turkmenistan.

With more than 450 energy and climate change lawyers, including over 100 partners, the CMS Energy and Climate Change practice is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Led from its centres of excellence such as London and Aberdeen, the practice works across 75 offices globally. Building on 40 years of experience advising on power, oil & gas and renewables through to energy disputes, emerging areas and Energy Transition, CMS is uniquely placed to ensure clients receive advice best suited to their commercial needs and to our collective future.

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Relevant experience

  • Gazprom Neft Middle East on its oil and gas activities in Kurdistan.
  • European oil company in relation to the development of a gas field in Kurdistan.
  • Major UAE oil company in relation to its Middle East oil and gas interests including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Algeria.
  • Oil Major on its drilling activities in Southern Iraq.
  • Major European oil and gas company in relation to its Iraq oil and gas interests including on issues concerning default, assignment and withdrawal.
  • Premier Oil on its Middle East oil and gas interests.
  • Excelerate Energy in relation to its FSRU charter with DUSUP.
  • An international oil and gas company on the farm-out of certain oil interests in Egypt.
  • An international oil and gas company on its drilling and supply chain management contracts in Iraq.
  • ExxonMobil on the disposal of various oil and gas interests and on expert determination for decommissioning.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Member, UK Energy Lawyers Group
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  • 2000 - Legal Practice Course, The College of Law, Guildford
  • 1999 - Common Professional Examination, The College of Law, Guildford
  • 1998 - BA (Hons) Modern History, University of Warwick, Warwick 
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Oil & Gas – In­vest­ing in Ni­ger­ia – Re­formed Pet­ro­leum Law enters in­to force
With a GDP in 2020 of just over US$450bn, Ni­ger­ia is by some stretch the largest eco­nomy in Africa (with Egypt in second place with a GBP of just over US$360bn). It is one of the world’s lar­ger oil...
Oil & Gas: No dam­ages awar­ded for breach of ca­pa­city ob­lig­a­tion in take...
In Brit­ish Gas Trad­ing Lim­ited v Shell UK Lim­ited & An­or [2020] EW­CA Civ 2349, the Court of Ap­peal con­sidered the ‘ramp down’ pro­vi­sions of two ‘take or pay’ long term gas sales agree­ments. Al­though...
Oil & Gas: Pro­tect­ing your po­s­i­tion in a fall­ing mar­ket
With the head­lines on the front page of yes­ter­day’s Fin­an­cial Times pre­dict­ing an “oil price war” and Brent diving to US$31/bbl at just after 4am UK time on Monday, oil com­pan­ies and con­tract­ors...
Oil and Gas M&A: No un­fair pre­ju­dice to re­duce sale price
In Al­bion En­ergy Ltd v En­ergy In­vest­ments Glob­al BRL [2020] EWHC 301 (Comm) the Com­mer­cial Court re­fused to al­low the buy­er of a re­main­ing minor­ity equity in­terest in a com­pany (when the buy­er owned 80%...
Coronavir­us and Force Ma­jeure
The World Health Or­gan­isa­tion Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al’s re­cent de­clar­a­tion that the glob­al out­break of the coronavir­us is a “pub­lic health emer­gency of in­ter­na­tion­al con­cern” is, of course, dom­in­at­ing...
Oil & Gas: IOCs al­lowed to own 100% of oil and gas drilling activ­it­ies...
In the latest of a series of moves de­signed to in­centiv­ise and fa­cil­it­ate cur­rent and fu­ture for­eign in­vest­ment by oil and gas com­pan­ies, the Gov­ern­ment of Bahrain has an­nounced that it will now al­low...
Oil & Gas: Court of Ap­peal deals with JOA budget over­runs and op­er­at­or...
In Spir­it En­ergy Re­sources Ltd & Ors v Mara­thon Oil UK LLC [2019] EW­CA Civ 11, the Court of Ap­peal dealt with an ap­peal con­cern­ing wheth­er an op­er­at­or, un­der a joint op­er­at­ing agree­ment, was en­titled...
Con­ven­tion on the Leg­al Status of the Caspi­an Sea: Im­plic­a­tions for Oil...
On 12 Au­gust 2018, Rus­sia, Azerbaijan, Ir­an, Kaza­kh­stan and Turk­menistan, be­ing the Caspi­an lit­tor­al states, signed the Con­ven­tion on the Leg­al Status of the Caspi­an Sea (the “Con­ven­tion”). The Con­ven­tion...
Ter­min­a­tion Pro­vi­sions in Drilling Con­tracts
In Vant­age Deep­wa­ter Com­pany and Vant­age Deep­wa­ter Drilling, Inc. (to­geth­er “Vant­age”) v Pet­ro­bras Amer­ica Inc.; Pet­ro­bras Venezuela In­vest­ments & Ser­vices, BV; and Pet­róleo Brasileiro S.A. (Pet­ro­bras...
Shar­jah be­comes latest Emir­ate of the UAE to of­fer oil and gas li­cens­ing...
On 26 June, the Pet­ro­leum Coun­cil of Shar­jah, one of the sev­en Emir­ates in the United Ar­ab Emir­ates, an­nounced its first ever on­shore oil and gas li­cen­cing round. The gov­ern­ment owned oil com­pany, Shar­jah...
Ir­aq awards blocks in fifth li­cens­ing round
Ir­aq has awar­ded six oil and gas blocks in its latest li­cens­ing round.  The res­ults of the auc­tion, an­nounced by the Min­istry of Oil on Thursday 26 April, is the fifth held since Ir­aq opened up its...
Oil & Gas: JOAs, budget over­runs and op­er­at­or pen­sion de­fi­cits
In Mara­thon Oil UK LLC v Cent­rica Re­sources Lim­ited, TAQA Bratani Lim­ited and TAQA Bratani LNS Lim­ited [2018] EWHC 322 (Comm), the Com­mer­cial Court con­sidered wheth­er an op­er­at­or was en­titled to charge...