James Higbee, MBA, JD
Director, Higbee Consulting International


My work for a large multinational corporation (the Atlantic Richfield Company or “ARCO”) for 18 years before it was acquired by BP gave me a broad range of experience doing business in a variety of developed and developing countries.


I was the project team leader for many overseas contract negotiation projects. I successfully organized, managed and led multidisciplinary teams in large complex multimillion dollar negotiations with foreign governments and with other multinational companies. The goal of the projects was to form joint ventures with the foreign governments and other multinational companies.


I have represented companies in working face-to-face with governments of such countries as China, Turkey, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea (West Africa), Australia and New Zealand.


I have also represented companies in doing business with some of the largest corporations in the world, including six of the top 10 Fortune Global 500 (a ranking of the world's largest companies).


This position was based in the U.S. but required significant overseas travel.  For example, during one year I spent eight months in China: during another year I spent eight months in New Zealand.


Given that ARCO was in the international petroleum business, my work focused on oil and gas projects. (For example, these included upstream production sharing agreements, joint venture operating agreements and farmout agreements.)


However, many of the issues which I faced were common to all international corporate projects, regardless of industry. These included a number of the usual issues incident to international joint venture formation and operation (such as profit and equity splits, profit repatriation, etc.) as well as acquisition and divestiture of corporate assets.


After leaving ARCO I was a business and legal advisor to major international corporations and was based in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China. During this time I assisted companies in a variety of industries with their foreign operations, as well as expanding my petroleum experience to include downstream (gas sales, CNG/LNG) projects.