SAMINOO, Kingdom of Tharbriz – In the oil and gas industry, negotiating the rights to drill a well on freehold land is typically handled by professional surface and mineral land negotiators. If all goes well, this process usually results in a formal agreement signed by all parties designed to give the PNG company the legal right to drill, while compensatory benefits and royalties are paid to the surface and mineral rights owners, respectively.
But for Mr. Bud Light, a senior exploitation engineer with Busch Energy, negotiating the rights to drill in a seismically prolific reservoir in the Kingdom of Tharbhiz took on a much different form.
Our Land Team repeatedly attempted to contact the freehold owner of these lands and after no response, I decided to head down to Tharbhiz to see what was going on and to check out what I learned were some of the best damn chicken shwarmas on the planet. Interestingly enough, I learned that the small, but promising oil pool was beneath the land owned by a king who lived in a rather large castle. That’s how this all started. – Bud Light, P.Eng. with Busch Energy.
According to Mr. Light, the reservoir’s sweet spot could only be reached by rigging up in the castle’s courtyard. But King Al-Suq Akweer, the castle’s main tenant, would have no part of it.
King Al-Suq Akweer would rather settle the old fashioned way, and the way with which he was accustomed: to challenge Mr. Light to a duel. The duel transpired on the castle’s drawbridge, the engineer won, much to the chagrin of the lightly injured King.
“I lost with dignity,” said the King, “That engineer sure knows his way around a sword. He now has the legal right to drill on my land and take my oil. But as I lay on the ground with a twisted ankle, I was able to negotiate a sliding scale royalty that will see me earn up to 25% of the well’s revenue after payout.”
M’Ballz Es-Hari, a Saminoo-based political and energy analyst believes that the duel may have set an unsettling precedence in how PNG mineral and surface land rights are negotiated in the small kingdom, and perhaps throughout the entire industry. He believes that the traditional role played by Landmen in the industry could fall by the wayside as engineers, geologists and other PNG professionals negotiate land with medieval sword fighting, jousting, mixed martial arts and other forms of hand-to-hand combat including Chinese Shanshou.