Catalyst for career success

""Oil industry solicitor Ross Lima routinely handles multi-million pound contracts and deals with contacts across large parts of the globe.

Since 2013, Ross (OE 1995-2002) has worked for Shell, where he is Lead Legal Counsel for the sale of catalysts across the EMEAR countries (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia). Before that he worked for clients ranging from the BBC and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to Avocet Mining and BP.

During his School years, he took part in extra-curricular activities, including rugby, athletics and debating. After A-levels he went to Sheffield University to read Law and was elected to the university’s Law Society. He also threw himself into organising events including Christmas and summer balls.

Ross was elected to the university's Commercial Services Board, which is in charge of holding the spending of the student union to account. On completing his LLB degree in 2005, Ross took a gap year and went travelling in South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore) as well as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

“During this period I applied for and got a job as a trainee solicitor at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP (FFW), a multi-national law firm headquartered in the City of London, and in 2006-2007, I attended BPP Law School in London, where I completed my legal practice course,” he says.

Ross qualified as a solicitor in 2009, specialising in Mergers and Acquisitions. “While at FFW I acted for Avocet Mining plc on its US$200m sale of its South East Asian mining assets – a deal which took over a year to complete and required the meeting of local regulations across SE Asian countries.”

He also went on various secondments which, he says, give him valuable experience of different environments in very diverse sectors.

“I was seconded to The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as part of a two-person legal team with the object of splitting the RPSGB into the General Pharmaceutical Council (the regulator for all pharmacists in Great Britain) and retaining the RPSGB as the professional body for pharmacists in Great Britain.”

He then went on to act for BBC Worldwide on the sale of 85% of BBC Audiobooks. And he had his first experience of working for an oil-industry employer when he was seconded to BP plc. He worked in its Castrol division on contracts that tested the way Castrol worked in various engines, seeking to improve the brand’s offering to the market.

At Shell, he has worked across both on the sale of catalysts and the provision of technical services on downstream sites. (In the oil and gas industry, ‘downstream’ commonly refers to the refining and processing of crude oil and raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of the final products).

“The breadth of work at Shell was wider than I initially could have imagined before taking the role. Alongside the legal work itself, I speak every day to clients and customers across the EMEAR region.”

The sales in which he is involved concern the catalyst that is used in the refineries of Shell and other oil & gas companies’ refineries across the world.

“Catalysts are tiny particles that speed up chemical reactions without being consumed themselves. They can accelerate production, increase yield of product and save energy,” explains Ross. “They are used to produce cleaner fuels, such as ultra-low sulphur diesel, and also have a large impact on successfully transforming natural gas into valuable synthetic oil products such as detergents and plastics. The catalyst business focuses on producing the most highly active and stable catalysts that function reliably.”