Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Construction Contract Exposures in the Oil /Gas Operations

When you are building a certain Gas and Oil Production Facilities Project, in a certain Contract Area, In Indonesia, you might then have to prepare and enter into an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commission Work Contract Agreement.

In the Oil and Gas operations, we usually call this the EPIC Contract Agreement. Under this EPIC Contract Agreement the skeleton or table contents of this Agreement which may be drafted, in practice covers among other the following issues :

the Definitions, the Work, the Responsibilities of the Oil/Gas Company ( Company), the Responsibilities of the Contractor, the Project Schedule, Time Completion, the Contract Price, the terms of Payment, Changes in Work, Guarantees and Warranties, Acceptance of Work, Default, Termination and Suspension, Liquidated Damages, Labor Relations, Relation with other Contractors, Insurance and General Indemnification, Patent Indemnification, Treatment of Proprietary Informations, Invention and Licenses, Liens and claims, Assignments and Subcontracts, Force Majeur, Accounting Records, Arbitration and Governing Laws, Taxes, Duties, Contractor's Representatives, Company's Representatives, Notices and Communications, Miscellaneous, Obligations and Liability.

In the preamble of the EPIC Contract Agreement, we usually describe, the reference relating to the background of the Oil/Gas Company, as to what basis is this Company conducting its oil and Gas Operations in Indonesia.

In my practice as Lawyer, we usually refer to the Production Sharing Contract or TAC or EOR, depending on the cooperation arrangements between the Oil and Gas Company with the GOI which is now BP Migas.

Furthermore, if the Oil/Gas Contractor is conducting its operations in cooperation with other investors, then we shall refer to the Operating Agreement which is specifically entered by such oil/gas Companies with the other Oil/Gas Investors.

As we all are aware, since the funds required to conduct the oil and gas facilities are significant, then such Oil/Gas Contractors, may enter into a Joint Operation Agreement (JOA) with other oil/gas companies, share the funds, costs and expenses. In this JOA arrangements, one of the Oil/Gas Contractors shall be elected as the Operator, who usually shall be responsible to enter into the agreements with 3rd Parties, to conduct the oil and gas operations, in which in our case is the EPIC Contract Agreement.

As an oil and gas Lawyer, having the opportunity and experience in being involved in preparing the EPIC Contract Agreement is really very interesting.

The interesting part is that the Construction Contractor, which we are asking to perform the Construction work, shall not only be responsible for the Construction work of the Oil and Gas Production Facilities, but shall also be responsible for coordinating and managing the Engineering, the Procurement, Installation and the Commissioning of such Production Facilities.

Thus as the Lawyer who shall be responsible for preparing and reviewing the legal aspects of these arrangements, we have to make sure that our Client who is the Oil and Gas Company are really being given the full legal right to request such Contractor to perform the Work in a professional manner by utilizing sound engineering principles, Project Management Procedures and supervisory procedures in accordance with the accepted practices in the petroleum processing industry.

We also have to make sure that the Contractor has inspected the Site and surrounding locations and is familiar with the conditions related to the performance of the Work. This is important since there may be cases where, the Contractors is not aware of the Site conditions, which shall result delay in the performance of the Work.

If the Contractor has to fabricate outside of Indonesia any pressure vessel to be used in connection with the Project, such Contractor has to advise the Oil/Gas Company at the earliest practical date, that it has to fabricate and will obtain all the necessary permits from the Directorate General of Oil and Gas (MIGAS) (through the Oil/Gas and BP Migas) prior to the beginning of the fabrication.

This EPIC Contract Agreements usually comprised of several Sections and Volumes, where we have to set up the order of priority in the event there is a discrepancy or consistency between the Sections or Volumes of such legal documents.

The significant part in preparing such EPIC Contract Agreement, is also on the Scheduling of the Work, in which the Contractor has to schedule its Work to comply with any design, construction and commissioning schedule constituting part of the EPIC Agreement and with any sequence or priority described in the Scope of Work.

The Contractor is required to submit to the Oil and Gas Company within a certain period of time for instance 2 weeks a time schedule ( Project Schedule).

This Project Schedule in practice among others includes the activities such as Identification of the Critical path with all the restrains and interrelations clearly indicated, start of the survey for pipelines, start and completion dates of detail design and schedule issue dates for “ Issued for Approval” Drawings, Start and Completion Dates and scheduled issue dates for Approved for Construction Drawings, Preparation and issuance of bills materials, start and end of mobilizations and demobilizations. All normal construction activities including Site Clearing, excavation work, foundation and equipment installations etc.

The Contract Price for the full payment of the EPIC Work to be completed by the Contractor to the satisfaction and accepted by the Oil/Gas Companies Work shall be a Lump Sum Price. There will also be the terms of payment where schedule of payment shall be established under the EPIC contract agreement.

Well, those above are some of the items that the oil and gas lawyers has to be involved in helping the end users and the management of the Oil and Gas Companies from the legal aspect to support and protect the legal rights of the Oil and Gas Companies in conducting its operations in Indonesia.

Agung Supomo Suleiman

Senior Partner of Law Firm Suleiman Agung & Co

http://www.sacolaw.blogspot.com

email : agungsacolaw@telkom.net

Mobile Phone : 0816830647

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