Home / People / Norman Wisely
Portrait ofNorman 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.

more less

"Norman is head and shoulders above the competition."

Chambers, 2024

"Norman knows the industry and he knows his clients. He is a go-to adviser."

Chambers, 2024

"He is truly the best in the business and who you would want representing you in any negotiation."

Chambers, 2024

"Norman is a brilliant lawyer who always provides pragmatic and commercially astute advice."

Chambers, 2023

"He's a deal-maker and a great leader of his team."

Chambers, 2023

"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

"Knows the industry backwards."


“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"


Relevant experience

  • Led UK and Norwegian asset and corporate disposals (leading partner) for BP, BG, SSE and ConocoPhillips and on significant acquisitions of interests for NEO Energy, 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, Saudi Aramco, Repsol-Sinopec and TotalEnergies on various key projects.
  • TAQA on the forfeiture and transfer of the Brae fields from Fujairah Oil & Gas to TAQA Bratani, NEO Energy and Spirit (the first such process in the UK) (TAQA Bratani Ltd v Fujairah Oil and Gas UK LLC).
  • Equinor on various joint venture, acquisition and financing matters in respect of the development of the Rosebank field.
  • HitecVision / NEO Energy on its production farm-in to Greater Buchan area from Jersey Oil & Gas via hive-down, its assumption of operatorship and on the associated purchase of an FPSO (USD 250m).
  • HitecVision / NEO Energy on the acquisition of JX Nippon Exploration and Production UK, holding interests in the Culzean, Mariner and Brae fields (USD 1.65bn).
  • MOL on the sale of its UK oil and gas business, via a sale of its 5 UK subsidiaries to Waldorf, including interests in the Catcher, Scolty/Crathes and Scott/Telford fields and various infrastructure (USD 305m).
  • Equinor on the sale of interest in its Corrib gas field (Republic of Ireland) via a sale of Equinor Energy Ireland to Vermilion (USD 434m).
  • 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 RockRose, 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 TotalEnergies (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 USD 2bn field development, and subsequent restructuring of same, and its USD 100m foward production sale to Flowstream.
  • TAQA on its 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 TotalEnergies and various farm-outs.
  • BP on restructuring various infrastructure in Trinidad and on drilling contracts in Iraq.
more less

Memberships & Roles

  • Association of International Energy Negotiators (AIEN)
  • Associate, Centre for Energy Law, University of Aberdeen
  • Trustee of the Energy, Petroleum, Mineral and Natural Resources Law and Policy Education Trust (University of Dundee)
more less


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, 2nd Ed. 2022)
  • "United Kingdom" in "The Oil and Gas Review" (2013 to 2018)
  • "UK" in "Chambers Global Practice Guide - Energy: Oil & Gas" (2016)
more less

Lectures list

  • 2023 – “Default and forfeiture in Joint Operating Agreements” Offshore Energies UK Annual Legal Conference, Aberdeen 
  • 2023 – “CMS Energy Transition Report – Challenges facing Oil Companies” CMS, London and Aberdeen
  • 2022 – “Getting Transactions Through – E&P M&A – UK and Norway” - ONS Conference, Stavanger 
  • 2022 – “Oil and Gas Market and M&A” – CMS, Rome
  • 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.
more less


  • 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
more less


High Court Dismisses Greenpeace and Uplift’s Judicial Review Claim Against...
The High Court in London has handed down a judgment dismissing Greenpeace and Uplift’s judicial review challenge against the North Sea Transition Authority’s (the “ NSTA ”) 33rd Offshore Oil and...
Long-awaited field development approval for Rosebank field
The owners of the Rosebank field have today obtained regulatory consent for the development of the field.Rosebank BackgroundThe Rosebank field was discovered in 2004 and is the UK’s largest undeveloped...
Energy Transition 2023
As the world seeks to balance energy security and affordability with the broadly agreed imperative to address carbon emissions, this report seeks to provide a timely update on how major oil and gas companies are navigating the energy transition based on an analysis of their published data.
North Sea Transition Authority exercises revocation powers in relation...
Since its inception the NSTA has highlighted the importance of “right assets, right hands” i.e. of ensuring that offshore petroleum licences are held by the right companies to ensure their development...
North Sea Transition Authority – Carbon storage data powers consultation...
The North Sea Transition Authority (“NSTA”) has published a response to its consultation on new carbon storage data powers. The consultation, which ran from 18 January 2023 until 1 March 2023, sought...
Greenpeace and Uplift granted permission to proceed with judicial review...
In­tro­duc­tion­En­vir­on­ment­al campaign groups such as Greenpeace and Uplift are increasingly using court proceedings to seek to advance their arguments, often by means of judicial review applications challenging...
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) launch consultation on proposal...
When North Sea oil and gas assets are sold on an asset basis (as opposed to a share sale of the company which owns the interests), it is generally necessary for the seller to assign/transfer to the buyer...
North Sea Transition Authority - Regulatory Update
It has been two years since the NSTA published its revised Strategy, which focused the oil & gas industry’s attention on its role in working towards ‘net zero’. Since that time, there have been...
People considerations in Energy Transactions
Watch On Demand Transactions, whether M&A, outsourcing or insourcing, are a core part of many of our clients’ businesses;  however, while the key commercial heads of terms are generally hammered out...
Energy Bill 2022 - Key proposals for the offshore oil & gas industry
The Energy Bill 2022 (the “Bill”) was introduced on 6 July 2022. The Bill covers carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production, regulatory reform, and emerging low carbon technologies – the details...
North Sea Transition Authority – Regulatory Update
In the year and a half since the NSTA Strategy was published, focussing the oil & gas industry’s attention firmly on its role in working towards ‘net zero’, there have been numerous examples of...
Energy Transition: The evolving role of oil & gas companies in a net-zero...
After an extraordinary year of health and economic challenges, the global oil and gas sector has an essential role to play in the economic recovery. The same could however be said of any economic recovery and expansion over the past 100 years – during this time oil and gas companies have provided most of the primary energy that has fuelled huge economic growth. But this time does look different. The oil and gas sector will power economic recovery not just through oil and gas exploration and production, but also (and perhaps counter-in­tu­it­ively to some) through facilitating the transition to a lower-carbon economy and eventually a net zero future. This report presents a wide-ranging review of the role of oil and gas companies in that future.