Special Counsel

Norman Nadorff

Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa, Restructuring


Special Counsel Norman Nadorff is located in Houston and works extensively with the Rio de Janeiro office. His practice centers on energy law and transactions and ethics law compliance.

For 30 years, Norman served as in-house counsel for major oil companies with primary focus on Latin America, West Africa and Indonesia. He was Senior Counsel for BP in Angola from 2006 to 2015 as well as Legal Manager for BP Brazil and ARCO Indonesia, where he held two expatriate assignments in the 1990’s. Due to this extensive expatriate experience, Norman is adept at finding practical solutions to thorny legal issues facing foreign subsidiaries and in developing national legal departments.

Norman has dealt with a wide range of commercial contracts, including farmout, unitization, joint operating, study and bidding, EPC, drilling and wellsite services, gas sales, shareholder, joint venture, and project finance agreements, as well as a wide variety of host government granting instruments. He recently wrote a new standard Production Sharing Contract for the Energy Ministry of a country in Southeastern Africa and a detailed country report on Suriname for a major oil and gas company.

Norman was worldwide Legal Manager for BP Solar in the early 2000's and also has experience with onshore US oil and gas transactions.

At ARCO, Norman wrote the Company’s policies on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, US Anti-boycott laws and US Export Regulations. He has participated in corruption, fraud, conflict of interest and hostage-taking investigations and helped resolved various commercial disputes.

Norman has been Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center since 2012 and has taught International Petroleum Agreements in several US and foreign law schools. In 2006, he played key roles in the creation of a pioneering international oil and gas master’s program at Angola’s national law school, which is now in its sixteenth year. Norman lectures frequently in law schools and privately on petroleum law, anti-corruption laws, contract drafting and negotiations, and development of local talent.

Norman is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, proficient in French, and has experience negotiating in all three languages. He is currently a Director of the Brazil-Texas Chamber of Commerce and a former Director of the Association of International Energy Negotiators in which he is active in several capacities, including Co-Chair of the 2022 and 2023 Model Contracts Workshops and member of the Education Advisory Board.


  • Drafting, negotiating and/or implementing host government agreements (PSA, tax and royalty, concession etc.): Mozambique (1996-98) (three blocks - including negotiation of the Temane PSC that led to a major natural gas development); Angola (Nine Blocks) 1986-8 and 2006-2015; Ecuador (Four Blocks) 1989-91; Gabon (Four Blocks) 1988-1991; Congo (Two Blocks) 1990; Colombia (Two Blocks) 1996-8; Indonesia (Six Blocks) 1991-9; Venezuela (Four Blocks) 1996-8; Brazil (Two Blocks) 2000-4; Peru (Four Blocks) 1989-91.
  • Drafting, negotiating and/or implementing joint operating agreements: Angola (Nine Blocks) 1986-8 and 2006-2015; Ecuador (Four Blocks) 1989-91; Gabon (Four Blocks) 1988-1991; Congo (Two Blocks) 1990; Colombia (Two Blocks) 1996-8; Indonesia (Six Blocks) 1991-9; Venezuela (Four Blocks) 1996-8; Brazil (Six Blocks) 1996-8 and 2000-4; Peru (Four Blocks) 1989-91; Mozambique (1996-98) (three blocks).
  • Drafting, negotiating and/or implementing major project (including EPC) contracts: Angola: (i) Angola LNG; (ii) Block 31 (PSVM) FPSO; (iii) Offshore Multi-Block Fiber Optics System; (iv) Block 18 (Greater Plutonio) FPSO; Brazil: Dunas (Belém) LNG Project (project eventually abandoned); Ecuador: Villano (Oriente Province) oil development (1996-8); Indonesia: (i) ONWJ Gas Pipeline; (ii) Kangean Island Gas Project; (iii) Tangguh LNG.
  • Drafting, negotiating and/or implementing oil and gas services agreements. Examples of agreements: Drilling, Rig Sharing, Wellsite, Transportation (air, land, aquatic); Seismic; Security; Medical; Environmental; Emergency Evacuation; Confidentiality; etc. Associated countries: Angola, Brazil, Columbia, Congo, Gabon, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, Syria, Indonesia, Dubai, Egypt, Mozambique, Yugoslavia (currently Serbia).
  • Other. Lead Counsel, Inter-company cooperation initiatives - Angola: Emergency Preparedness, Purchase and fit-out of Super-Puma Emergency Helicopters (2011 – 2014) and Indonesia: Decommissioning (1992). Strategic Country Exit: Angola, Peru, Gabon and Republic of Congo.

verwandte Beratungsfelder und Industrien


  • Educator of the Year, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (2009)
  • Special service award, Agostinho Neto University Faculty of Law for long-term service to post-graduate (LL.M.) oil and gas program.
  • Anonymously submitted comments from University of Houston law students: “A true expert in the field, Professor Nadorff is a credit to the University”.  “This was one of the best courses that I have ever taken. Prof. Nadorff was an excellent instructor and the class was very beneficial”.  “It was one of the best classes I've ever taken. Professor Nadorff’s human qualities and professional training are outstanding. His class is exactly what a student pursuing a career as an international petroleum negotiator requires.”
  • “Other AIPN members, such as Norman Nadorff, make significant contributions by donating their time and effort to hold courses for students in Africa and elsewhere” (President’s message, AIPN Advisor, September 2012).
  • “HOUSTON—Even in Texas, it’s rare to hear the theme song of the 1960-70s U.S. sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies at an oil and gas conference with audience members chiming in lyrics on cue. Norman Nadorff . . . . and participants at NAPE Summit 2016 did just that on Feb. 10, using the Ballad of Jed Clampett to hear about oil and gas contracts—more specifically how they differ across the world. (“Lessons On Oil, Gas Contracts And Pitfalls: Forget The Beverly Hillbillies”  Velda Addison, E&P Magazine (Hart Energy) February 11, 2016.


  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, JD
  • Saint Louis University, MA, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Saint Louis University, BA, summa cum laude
    Phi Beta Kappa


  • Texas
  • Ohio (inactive)


  • Englisch
  • Portugiesisch
  • Spanisch
  • Französisch


  • Director, Brazil-Texas Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-Chair, Model Contracts Workshop 2021 and 2022, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
  • Member, Board of Advisors, Journal of World Energy Law and Business (AIPN/Oxford Press)
  • Member, Board of Advisors, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s International LL.M. Program