Maritime contracts in the offshore oil & gas industry—an introduction
Produced in partnership with CMS

The following Energy practice note produced in partnership with CMS provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Maritime contracts in the offshore oil & gas industry—an introduction
  • Overview
  • Transportation/‘shipping’ of hydrocarbons
  • Types of charter
  • Key issues common to all charterparties

Maritime contracts in the offshore oil & gas industry—an introduction

Overview

Vessels are used extensively in the offshore oil & gas sector. Types of vessels typically include platform supply/offshore utility vessels, safety vessels, cable laying ships and ice breakers, supply vessels, drill ships and offshore barges (for instance equipped with heavy lifting cranes and/or accommodation modules).

There is also a wide category of exploration, production, storage and/or offloading craft such as floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels, floating storage and offloading (FSO) units, and floating LNG vessels. These generally resemble ships but usually have some sort of connection to the seabed or to surface/subsea production facilities. Such vessels are beyond the scope of this Practice Note.

Some of the most common maritime contracts encountered in the offshore oil & gas sector are the charter agreements (commonly known as ‘charterparties’ or ‘charters’) which are put in place, usually by a platform operator, to ensure adequate provision of one or more vessels. The type(s) of vessels will of course depend on the operator’s requirement.

Other types of maritime contract which are commonly used in this sector include:

  1. shipbuilding contracts—entered into with a shipyard by a person or entity which wishes to acquire a newly-built vessel, and usually accompanied by one or more refund guarantees. For more information on guarantees, see: Guarantees—overview

  2. ship sale and purchase agreements—one of the most commonly

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