Access to information in joint ventures: the dangers of being kept in the dark


Author: Anne Freeman

Presented at the 2016 Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration (APPEA) Conference on access to information issues in the context of joint ventures.

Operators of joint ventures have, by reason of their position, first-hand access to all information relating to the joint venture, including financial results, technical data, and documents relating to relationships with third parties and contractors. Non-operators regularly strike difficulty in obtaining all the information they need in relation to the affairs of joint ventures, especially if a dispute is emerging between participants in it.

This paper explores various mechanisms for non-operators to obtain joint venture records, including express provisions in the joint venture agreement itself, and the potential to argue that there should be a right to obtain records implied into the agreement. Other potential mechanisms are also canvassed, including the assertion of fiduciary duties owed by the operator that might provide the non-operator with rights to obtain information.