Contributed by Sohaib Qadar
Within a month after taking the Ohio Bar exam in July 1989, I returned to Pakistan and began working for Occidental Petroleum’s Legal Department. I worked for Occidental until March 1999, in Islamabad (Pakistan), Bakersfield (California) and Doha (Qatar). From 1995 to 1999, I was Occidental’s Doha based General Attorney and Compliance Officer for the Middle East Region, and I worked on projects covering Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Syria, the UAE, and Yemen.
In April 1999, I moved back to Islamabad to start my own oil and gas law practice. Within a few years, my law firm was recognized as the top oil and gas practice in Pakistan by Asia – Pacific Legal 500. My clients included Occidental Petroleum, BP, OMV, the government of Pakistan, and more than a dozen other petroleum companies, and I covered projects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Arabian Gulf.
When the War on Terror started spilling into Islamabad in 2006, I decided to move back to the USA; however, with my Pakistan passport, immigration to USA did not appear to be the best option. I applied for Canadian immigration and started looking for an expat job outside Pakistan immediately.
In mid- 2006, I moved to Bucharest, Romania as part of the management team of Petrom, the Romanian national oil company, which was acquired a year earlier by a company I represented in Pakistan, OMV. My task was to close Petrom’s offices in India, Iran and Tanzania, sell unprofitable assets in Kazakhstan, and open an office in Turkmenistan. Later, in 2008, I moved to OMV’s head office is Vienna as BD & Commercial Manager for the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
In 2010, I moved to Calgary as an immigrant, and started Canadian Rockies Energy Inc., a consulting company focused on developing oil and gas business for Canada- and US-based clients in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. During the last four years, I have worked on projects in Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, for multiple clients, including MNP Petroleum Corporation, a TSX-V listed junior petroleum exploration company, for whom I am also part time General Counsel.
During my career, I have also published eight books and more than twenty papers on oil and gas laws and policies – and made presentations at petroleum forums all over the world. In addition, I also taught International Business Law and Petroleum Law courses at law schools in Pakistan as a Visiting Lecturer from 2000 to 2006.
On the personal front, I got married to Momenat (Mona) in Pakistan, in April 1993. Mona until recently was only a homemaker taking care of our two daughters, Hanna and Sarah. Two years ago she decided to go back to school, and last month obtained a Professional Cooking Diploma from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, and also passed her Alberta licensing exam for Chef. We may now open an international café in Calgary.