Lizel Oberholzer

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Cape Town
South Africa
T:+27 21 405 1296
Cape Town
South Africa
T:+27 21 405 1296
Lizel Oberholzer

Lizel Oberholzer


Related services and key industries


Lizel Oberholzer is a consultant based in Cape Town.

She is an admitted attorney in South Africa with over 16 years' experience in the energy sector in Africa.  Her experience in the energy sector together with the good relationships she has established with key regulatory figures in Africa is invaluable when advising and representing clients.

She focuses on the upstream, midstream and downstream regulatory field of oil and gas, as well as the negotiating and drafting of various oil & gas contracts in many jurisdictions in Africa, which include Namibia, Mozambique, DRC, Kenya and Tanzania.  Local and international clients rely on her extensive knowledge of the mineral and petroleum legislation in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Industry associations rely on her to represent them at workshops with the Department of Mineral Resources and to comment on proposed changes in law.

Prior to joining our practice, she was the head of the oil and gas department at another leading law firm, and has also worked as in-house counsel to an oil and gas company and the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.

Lizel has a B.Proc, LLB and LLM (law of contract).  She also furthered her studies in the United States of America and the United Kingdom in order to gain further knowledge on contract specific to the oil and industry.

Professional experience

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  • Advised major oil and gas companies on licencing requirements in Mozambique.
  • Advised Sasol Petroleum International on drilling contract in Mozambique.
  • Advised on the first exploration and production rights granted offshore South Africa as well as the first shale gas applications in South Africa.
  • Advised on the drafting and negotiating of the Participating and Joint Operating Agreements based on the AIPN Model Contracts including the related cession and assignment of rights and relevant ministerial approvals in various African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.
  • Advised the Onshore and Offshore Petroleum Associations of South Africa on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill, the constitutionality thereof and make submission to Parliament of recommended changes.
  • Advised on the potential licensing requirements, in respect of the import, and trade of petroleum products under South African law.
  • Advised Anadarko Petroleum Corporation regarding various petroleum regulatory applications and approvals, general advice on constitutional and administrative law, as well as tax and royalty stability agreements.
  • Advised on the listing of a South African Petroleum Company on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • Advised the Cairn India Group on the negotiation and drafting of a farm-in and joint operating agreement in respect of Block 1 offshore the west coast along the north western maritime border of South Africa with Namibia, as well as the drafting of the relevant applications for approval of the transaction by the Minister of Mineral Resources, environmental compliance and oil and gas regulatory compliance.
  • Advised HRT Participações em Petróleo S.A. on oil and gas regulatory requirements in Namibia and assisted with exploration right applications.
  • Advised Total E&P South Africa in acquiring exploration right in South Africa and advice on the farm in and joint operating agreement entered into with Canadian Natural Resources, provide regulatory administrative law and environmental law advice on amending the exploration work programme.
  • Advised Molopo South Africa Exploration and Production in its application for an onshore production right and its negotiations with black economic empowerment partners as well the renewal of onshore exploration rights.
  • Advised Statoil on various farm-in transactions in South Africa
  • Advised Thombo Petroleum in its farm-out of a participating interest in petroleum rights offshore the west coast related regulatory compliance advice, drafting and negotiation of agreements.
  • Highly regarded lawyer for Energy & infrastructure, Project development, IFLR1000, 2019

Lizel is a co-auther of the following publications:

  • Overview of natural gas sector, International Comparative Legal Guide to Oil and Gas Regulation Global Legal Group, 2014 and 2018
  • Overview of the South African oil and gas regulation, Africa Upstream Oil and Gas, Global Law and Business,  March 2015
  • Getting the Deal Oil Through : Regulations South Africa, 2012 – 2014,
  • Overview of the South African gas legislation, Mineral and Petroleum Law of South Africa, Juta , 2013

Lizel is a contributor to the South Africa chapter in the Global Legal Insights - Energy 2021.

Regularly approached by the media for quotes, articles and interviews. Has featured on Business Day, Mining Weekly, Financial Mail, Radio 702, Cape Talk online, CNBC Africa, The Times – Legal Times, Business Day TV, Business LIVE, Upstream Magazine and The Financial Mail.

She is well known a speaker at oil and gas conferences listed below:

  • Africa Energy Forum in Mauritius 2018
  • Africa Singapore Business Forum in Singapore 2018
  • Chaired the Africa Gas Forum 2017 and 2018
  • Africa Oil Week, 2017
  • Women in Oil and Energy South Africa, 2017
  • Shale Gas conferences – 2011, 2012, 2013 South Africa and Shale Gas Forum (Shale Gas Legislation and the MPRDA bill ) May 2016
  • Master Class on LNG to Gas, Gas Options Conference, 2016
  • Unconventional Gas Resources Summit Africa (Assessing the new development in Mineral Policy), 2016
  • Member of the AIPN
  • Member of the Cape Law Society
  • Founding member and secretary of the Onshore Petroleum Association of South Africa.