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Portrait of Norman Wisely

Norman Wisely

Office Managing Partner

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
6 Queens Road
AB15 4ZT
United Kingdom
Languages English

Norman Wisely is the Managing Partner of CMS Aberdeen and Co-Head of the Oil and Gas Team who specialises in all areas of oil & gas law, and in particular oil & gas mergers and acquisitions work.  Norman is ranked as a leading lawyer in Chambers, Legal 500 and Who's Who - Energy and is an Acritas Star - independently rated lawyer.

Norman has extensive experience in advising clients on oil & gas matters including leading numerous acquisitions and disposals of offshore and onshore oil & gas assets, advising on oil & gas related share transactions, on transportation and infrastructure projects, decommissioning and decommissioning security, licensing, production sharing and joint venture matters, product sales arrangements and all matters relevant to the exploration, production and sale of hydrocarbons.

Norman’s recent international experience includes leading on various oil and gas deals and projects from and based in Norway, UAE, Russia, Namibia, Trinidad and various other countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Australasia and North and South America.

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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"Very hands-on, knowledgeable and responsive."

Legal 500, 2020

"He is very strongly client-oriented, very engaging and provides us with really good support."

Chambers, 2019

'experienced, knowledgeable and a source of great advice'

Legal 500, 2018

"He's great.. He is very approachable and very responsive to our needs."

Client Feedback 2018

“a standout partner who is completely on top of the sector”


“Norman’s expertise in the North Sea, especially around decommissioning vindicated the selection of CMS … he really directed it all – he is excellent, top quality – 10/10”

Lead M&A Counsel – FTSE 100 Company

"He is all I need when I go to an external lawyer"


"Knows the industry backwards."


Relevant experience

  • Led UK and Norwegian asset and corporate disposals (leading partner) for BP, BG and ConocoPhillips and on significant acquisitions of interests for Equinor, SSE, Premier Oil, Apache, TAQA and EnQuest, including developing all associated bespoke decommissioning security arrangements. Norman also recently led CMS teams supporting CNOOC, MOL, Neptune, Saudi Aramco, Repsol-Sinopec and Total on various key projects.
  • Hitecvision / Neo Energy on the acquisition of over 15 oil and gas fields from Exxon (including Gannet, Penguins, Shearwater, Elgin/Franklin, ETAP (Mirren, Madoes), Kingfisher, Strathspey, Nelson and interests in the SEAL, GAEL and Brent pipeline systems and the Sullom Voe terminal), via a hive-down and sale of ExxonMobil CNNS Limited (USD 1.35bn).
  • Kerogen Capital on the sale of the Zennor Petroleum group of companies (incorporating Zennor Petroleum and 6 subsidiaries including interests in Finlaggan, Britannia, Bacchus, Cormorant East and ETAP fields) to Neo Energy (USD 625m).
  • SSE on the sale of its entire offshore UK gas business through sale of SSE E&P UK Limited to Viaro Energy, including interests in over 15 gas fields and various other infrastructure, involving retention of decommissioning liability, vendor loan and security.
  • EnQuest on the purchase of a 26% interest in the Golden Eagle Field from Suncor Energy, via an acquisition of its subsidiary, North Sea (Golden Eagle) Resources Limited (USD 375m).
  • TAQA on the acquisition and contested assumption of operatorship of the Brae field from RockRose (TAQA Bratani Ltd v. RockRose UKCS8 LLC [2020] EWHC 58 (Comm)).
  • SSE on its purchase of a stake in Laggan, Tormore, Edradour and Glenlivet Fields together with interests in the Shetland Gas Plant and other ancillary interests from Total (GBP 565m).
  • BP on various projects, including its sale of its Alba and Britannia fields to Mitsui and sale of Draugen field (Norway) to Shell, its Erskine Field to Serica, sale of its NW Hutton interest and its acquisition of an interest in the Culzean field from JX.
  • BG on the sale of its entire interest in the CATS pipeline via a sale of its subsidiary, BG CATS Limited, to Antin Infrastructure Partners (GBP 572m).
  • SSE on its purchase from Hess of 19 offshore fields in the Southern North Sea gas basin including interests in the Everest/Lomond, Bacton and ECA areas together with interests in the Bacton terminal (USD 423m).
  • Shell on the sale of Sakhalin II to Gazprom (USD 8bn).
  • Premier Oil on its acquisition of a 100% interest in Solan Field from Chrysaor and associated financing  arrangements in respect of $2b field development, and subsequent restructuring of same, and its USD 100m foward production sale to Flowstream.
  • TAQA on its sale and purchase of seven North Sea oil and gas fields together with interests in the Brent pipeline system and Sullom Voe terminal from Shell and Exxon (USD 628m).
  • Sintez on investment into Namibia and petroleum agreement and JOA negotiations.
  • EnQuest on its acquisition of interests in the Kittiwake area from Centrica.
  • Equinor on the disposal of the Alba field to Verus and the acquisition of Rosebank from Chevron.
  • Zennor on the purchase of Britannia from Mitsui.
  • Various field development and infrastructure projects including development of the Broom, Helvellyn, Don, Ivar Aasen and Finlaggan fields.
  • Apache on the sale of Seagull field to Neptune, purchase of Nelson field from Total and various farm-outs.
  • BP on restructuring various infrastructure in Trinidad and on drilling contracts in Iraq.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)
  • Associate, Centre for Energy Law, University of Aberdeen
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Author of chapters on:

  • "Acquisitions and Disposals of Oil and Gas Interests" in "UK Oil and Gas law – Current Practice" (Ed. Gordon, Paterson, Usenemez) published by Dundee University Press (1st Ed. 2007, 2nd Ed. 2011 and 3rd Ed. 2018)
  • "Decommissioning in an M&A Context" in "Upstream Oil and Gas Mergers and Acquisitions" (1st Ed. 2014, 2nd Ed. 2018)
  • "Oil and Gas Acquisitions and Divestments" in "Oil and Gas Production Contracts" (Ed. Jennings) (1st Ed. 2008)
  • "United Kingdom" in "The Oil and Gas Review" (2013 to 2018)
  • "UK" in "Chambers Global Practice Guide - Energy: Oil & Gas" (2016)
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Lectures list

  • 2020 – “JOAs – default”, Aberdeen University, LLM, Aberdeen
  • 2019 - "Joint Operating Agreements - Non-Operator Issues" and "Decommissioning", MOL, Budapest
  • 2018 - "Oil & Gas Upstream M&A - Recent Innovation" - CMS, Bratislava
  • 2018 - "Oil & Gas M&A - Recent Innovation - Getting Deals Done" - MOL, Budapest
  • 2018 - "Changing Nature of Oil & Gas Companies" - CMS, Amsterdam
  • 2017 - "Decommissioning in a Mature Basin" - Statoil Annual Legal Conference, Oslo
  • 2017 - "Oil & Gas M&A - Innovative Structures and Techniques"  North Sea Energy Law Programme (Universities of Aberdeen, Copenhagen, Groningen and Oslo)
  • 2016 - “Mergers and Acquisitions”  - CEPMLP St Andrews / Dundee University Oil & Gas Course, St Andrews 
  • 2016 - “Default and Insolvency Issues in Upstream Oil & Gas” – Oil and Gas UK Annual Legal Conference, Aberdeen
  • 2016 - “Oil Price impact” - CMS Partner Annual Meeting, Rome
  • 2015 - “Oil and Gas Agreements” - CEPMLP St Andrews / Dundee University Oil & Gas Course, St Andrews
  • 2013 - “Mergers and Acquisitions” - CEPMLP St Andrews / Dundee University Oil & Gas Course, St Andrews
  • 2013 - “JOAs” – Law Society of Scotland Oil & Gas Conference, Aberdeen
  • 2013 - “Decommissioning Security” – Law Society of Scotland Oil & Gas Conference, Aberdeen
  • 2008 - Regular speaker at Aberdeen University Commercial LLM on “Acquisitions and Disposals of Oil and Gas Interests” and "JOAs".
  • Various other guest lectures and presenting for clients, industry bodies, at various contracts and oil and gas seminars including presentations on licensing, JOAs, decommissioning security, mergers and acquisitions, liabilities and indemnities and general oil and gas legal issues in contract.
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  • Notary Public in Scotland
  • 2001 - Qualified in England and Wales 
  • 2000 - Qualified in Scotland 
  • 1998 - Dip LP, University of Dundee, Dundee
  • 1997 - LLB (Hons), University of Dundee, Dundee
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