AIEN Approves 2023 Model International Joint Operating Agreement

The Board of Directors of the Association of International Energy Negotiators (AIEN) is pleased to announce the publication of its 2023 Model International Joint Operating Agreement (JOA).

The 2023 Model International Joint Operating Agreement (the 2023 Model) is the latest version of perhaps the most widely used and accepted form of joint operating agreement for international oil and gas projects. It updates the previous form known as the 2012 Model Joint Operating Agreement (the 2012 Model), which has been the leading form adopted by international oil and gas players over the past decade.

The 2023 Model contains updates and refinements in a number of key areas that were identified by membership, based on experience using the 2012 Model in practice and to address developments in the law and industry practice. The agreement updates and builds upon the 2012 Model’s provisions dealing with decommissioning, anti-bribery and corruption and default and adds wholly new provisions in relation to economic sanctions, human rights and greenhouse gas emissions to reflect the major advances in the industry. The standard form text of the document reflects what is widely considered to be accepted practice in the sector, but options and alternatives are also provided for negotiated issues most commonly encountered by the industry and for jurisdictional or governing law differences. It has been updated with the 2020 Model International Unitization and Unit Operating Agreement in mind, and is designed to work seamlessly alongside it. It has been published along with a set of Guidance Notes designed to assist and inform drafters and negotiators.

The publication of the 2023 Model International Joint Operating Agreement concludes an industry-wide effort spanning more than four years. Led by co-chairs Paul Deemer (Vinson & Elkins LLP), Shona Walker (Shell), and Ed Harper (Equinor), along with drafting coordinator Nadine Amr and sub-committee co-chairs Tom Booth, Patrick Appel, Stuart Carter, Mark Beeley, Nick Scott, Andrew Baxter and Dave Johnson, the drafting committee included more than 300 industry professionals from 58 countries.

The new 2023 Model International Joint Operating Agreement, as well as the JOA Guidance Notes, are available for download free for AIEN members. Non-members may purchase the set for $185.