Jim W. Skelton

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James W. Skelton, Jr. is an international energy lawyer who retired from ConocoPhillips Company, formerly named Conoco Inc., at the end of 2007. Mr. Skelton represented Conoco/ConocoPhillips as a specialist in international petroleum transactions for over 27 years in more than 30 countries in the Former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, and other oil and gas producing regions of the world. Since 2008, he has worked as Of Counsel to the Stinemetz Law Firm and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. His current practice is focused on international strategic relationships, such as joint ventures, financings, asset allocations, business development in emerging markets, and acquisitions and divestitures.

Mr. Skelton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Arizona State University, a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law and a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from New York University. He has served as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Houston Journal of International Law since 1999. He has published over a dozen articles and book reviews for legal periodicals, and has made many presentations at international conferences in Houston, Dallas, London and Moscow. 

Mr. Skelton’s body of work includes the following highlights:

  • Negotiation and preparation of joint venture agreements in Russia, including the first greenfield joint venture and project financing package for Polar Lights Company, Conoco’s joint venture in Russia in the 1990s, and the ConocoPhillips/LUKOIL joint venture transaction from 2003-05.
  • Handling international corporate acquisitions and dispositions, including, for example, acquisitions of large international upstream affiliates of major oil companies.
  • Structuring joint ventures and similar business arrangements in Southeast Asia, West Africa and Eastern Europe, focused primarily on upstream oil and gas ventures.
  • Preparing and negotiating production sharing agreements, joint operating agreements, service agreements, and related agreements for exploration and production of hydrocarbons throughout the world.
  • Providing assistance in the legislative arena in Russia by serving as (1) a Director of the E&P Licensing Group for the University of Houston's Russian Petroleum Legislation Project in the early 1990's, (2) Chairman of the Legislation Subcommittee of the Energy Committee of the U.S.-Russia Business Council from 1993 to 2001, and (3) an active member of the Legal and Legislative Committee of the Petroleum Advisory Forum from 1992 to 2002.
  • Numerous negotiations of farmout agreements and asset sale agreements for interests in various properties in West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.