Research and innovation have become necessary for sustainability and profitability in Oil and Gas industry in present times. Oil and Gas Companies (Companies) have established procedures and contract templates for commercial contracts. Research Collaboration Agreements (Agreements) have very different requirements and pose Contract Management challenges. This paper deals with the resolution of such challenges.
In process of developing this paper, a number of Research Collaboration Agreements have been studied with respect to their (i) objectives, (ii) Research Collaborators Concerns, (iii) Research Collaborator's business model and expectation from the Agreement (iv) major issues which contradict with the Oil and Gas Company's contract templates and procedures and (v) mutually acceptable resolution to various issues.
Based on the study, this paper has been developed to systematically analyse the issues and share the successful strategies and mutually acceptable provisions of the Agreement.
In commercial contracts, we deal with conventional contractors. In Research Collaboration agreements, contractors are Research Collaborators. The Research Collaborators have unique requirements, which are different from conventional contractors. They have different business models, pricing expectations, legal sensitivity and risk tolerance capabilities.
Further, the Research Collaboration Agreements need to be flexible in terms of scope of services, contract period, resource requirements, payment methods etc., so that the researchers can exploit even their intermediate and unforeseen findings to arrive at meaningful outcome. This is in contrast to conventional contracts, which have definitive requirements.
While required flexibility needs to be built-in the Agreements, the Company needs to ensure that it has suitable controls in the Agreement to ensure value for its investment.
In course of time, contracting strategies and Agreement provisions have been developed to:
build up flexibility in the Agreements without deviating from basics of contract management and
address the unique requirements of Research Collaborators without compromising the objectives and control of Oil and Gas companies.
Efforts have been made by the author to share the resolution of contract management challenges through contracting strategies and contract provisions, developed for Research Collaboration Agreement.