SUMMARY _ Put very simply, as a legal or even business document, it's hard to image any document that could be as beset with so many near_crippling legal flaws, traps and pitfalls for its signer, as the LOI. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that in the REAL world of international buying and selling of crude oil, while the crude sellers and their army of sales_obsessed aggressive brokers and agents may generally be infatuated with the idea of having the LOI document widely and routinely used by prospective crude buyers to initiate their purchasing offers, nothing, on the other hand, could be more disliked, more unacceptable or unwanted by most crude buyers, particularly the more credible and substantive lot. What is more, on top of everything else of decisively negative nature about this document, the LOI is a document adjudged by virtually every legal expert in the field as a document that is legally meaningless, worthless, unenforceable and non_binding both on the signatory parties or on anyone, but yet has the potential to bring forth immense and unanticipated legal complications and problems for the signer(s).
A famous example often cited by legal scholars, was a case involving the Getty Oil and Pennzoil in very early 1984. The parties had signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" _ viewed by the parties at the time as a Letter of Intent _ for a complex investment and stock transaction, whereby Pennzoil would purchase Getty Oil stock, and set forth general terms of the investment that had been reached in conversations, and also stipulated that the Memorandum was subject to the approval of the Board of Getty Oil. The Board of Getty Oil sooner approved the transaction and both parties announced on January 4, 1984 in a press release, an "agreement in principle" to the terms of the Memorandum. The final agreements for the merging of Texaco and Getty Oil were signed by the parties on January 6 _ 8.