Energy and Natural Resources Law

Antoine Ibrahim, Imad, ‘Legal Tools for Addressing Uncertainty and Managing Risks in the Energy Sector: Is There a Role for International Disaster Law?’ (2021) 14(3) The Journal of World Energy Law & Business 163–175
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted once again the existing legal vacuums in the energy sector when it comes to addressing various situations such as disaster risk management and reduction. This reality can be seen in various instances where other regulatory frameworks are used instead of energy law. This article seeks to address the existing legal vacuum in the energy field in the context of pre- and post-energy disasters, such as the Covid-19 health disaster resulting in negative consequences for the energy sector. The author argues that international disaster law, taking the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as a case study, can provide guidance when it comes to managing pre- and post-energy disasters scenarios. The author will support this claim by examining the potential use of the Sendai Framework priorities as guidance for policymakers in addressing disasters in the energy field while stressing the need to strike a balance between using existing binding and nonbinding frameworks from other regulatory fields to address the legal gaps and making sure that energy law applies in such situations.

Arlota, Carolina, ‘International Energy Law and the Paris Agreement in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Possibilities’ (2021) 27(2) ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law_
_Abstract: This essay is based on my presentation at the 2020 International Law Weekend, organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA). As such, this essay is not intended to be an exhaustive survey, but rather an overview of the main issues of interest. In addition, this work specifically discusses potential upcoming progress regarding international climate policies and potential setbacks. Therefore, this essay advances current knowledge on international energy law and fosters its academic autonomy. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. At the time, not much was known about the virus. Stringent measures imposing social distancing and closing all non-essential businesses were implemented around the globe in a joint effort to contain the virus, buying time for scientists, hospitals and medical workers to prepare. Against this background, an economic crisis started to develop based on a drop in oil prices, due to the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. This economic crisis and the draining of financial resources made the pandemic more severe. At the same time, comparisons between the pandemic and the climate crisis began to occur, with few paying attention to the urgency and stringency of the measures to be taken. The pandemic and climate crisis are also connected from a policy perspective because pollution, such as greenhouse gases (GHGs), adversely impacts the immune and respiratory systems, making individuals more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.This essay focuses on the challenges that arose due to the pandemic and how policy makers may take advantage of the economic and health crises to rapidly advance a greener economy. Steering a transition from fossil fuels to non-carbon-based sources should be an important consideration after the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the pressing concerns of justice also triggered by the pandemic. In this regard, this essay discusses the main treaties on international energy law. These treaties are aligned with international commitments, most prominently the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Sustainable Development Goal 13 promotes the need for immediate and effective climate action (SDG 13). This is relevant as the synergistic nature of climate threats has not been fully assessed, and the outcomes are likely to be worse than the sum of the independent parts. Therefore, this essay aims at staring a much needed conversation.

Clement-Davies, Christopher, ‘The 2000 UK Sustainable Infrastructure Summit: Grounds for Hope’ (2020) 5 International Energy Law Review 65–67
Abstract: Reflects on the 2020 UK Sustainable Infrastructure Summit, held digitally in July 2020. Reviews the main themes addressed, including the optimism over the green agenda, the Government’s infrastructure prioritisation, the clear planning and co-operation needed to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the opportunities the coronavirus pandemic offers for switching from fossil fuels, and the sustainability of the ‘mega-rail’ projects.

Denison, MJ, ‘Force Majeure Clauses in LNG Sales and Purchase Agreements: How Do They Stand up during the Covid-19 Pandemic?’ (2021) 14(2) Journal of World Energy Law & Business 88–99
Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic companies have declared force majeure on contracts across the energy value chain. LNG Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) are no exception. Courts in several jurisdictions have declared Covid-19 a force majeure event. Governments have issued guidelines on managing Covid-related contract disputes. The stage is set for high-value litigation turning on the validity of force majeure clauses. The purpose of this article is to help make sense of these developments. It will review the theory and application of the law of force majeure and, through comparison of six published LNG SPAs, ‘stress test’ current force majeure provisions. The article will consider how contractual risk is presently allocated in these model contracts, what drafting modifications might be applied to improve coverage, align with current case law, better reflect the market environment, and ensure contractual stability under Covid-19 conditions. The focus is on English law, given that this is the lex fori in the majority of the published contracts.

Duggal, Kabir, Rekha Rangachari and Kanika Gupta, ‘Consequences of Crisis and the Great Re-Think: COVID-19’s Impact on Energy Investment, Sustainability and the Future of International Investment Agreements’ (2021) 14(3) The Journal of World Energy Law & Business 133–146
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting disruptions are having a significant impact on the global economy and international investments. Various State measures to address the pandemic are leading to widespread economic disruptions across several industries, including the energy sector. The current crisis has impacted energy demand, disrupted the global supply chain and created financial uncertainty. The pandemic has exacerbated issues relating to health, the environment, labour and human rights in the energy sector. This article seeks to understand the pandemic’s impact in shaping future human rights policy in international investment law. This article analyses current drafting trends in international investment agreements (IIAs) in 2019–2020, particularly in the context of recent developments in sustainable development and human rights. Although there are some noteworthy developments in recent IIAs, the pandemic has highlighted the need for further treaty reforms. It provides an opportunity for policymakers and corporations alike to address human rights issues and to incorporate the principles of sustainable investment into IIAs. The energy sector in particular plays a significant role in promoting sustainable development and post-COVID policy reforms will be essential for future energy security and global stability. In conclusion, this article considers the future of potential reforms in the post-COVID recovery agenda while keeping in mind energy and climate goals.

Marreiros Moreira, Tiago and Vanusa Gomes, ‘Parallel Battles’ [2020] (Summer) International Financial Law Review 73–75
Abstract: Reports on how Angola is addressing the challenges of reduced oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. Considers the privatisation initiative to encourage foreign investment.

Marreiros Moreira, Tiago and Daniel Guilherme, ‘Natural Wealth’ [2020] (Summer) International Financial Law Review 73–75
Abstract: Reports on Mozambique’s response to the coronavirus emergency and its economic policy aimed at encouraging foreign investment in natural gas production.

Nupen, Lili et al, ‘Mining Law in the Midst of a Pandemic’ (2021) 21(1) Without Prejudice 9–11
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has tipped the world into social and economic turmoil. Following the announcement of the national lockdown in March 2020, the operation of the South African mining industry, including ancillary and production activities relating thereto, was largely suspended, save for those operations concerning the generation of coal-fired electricity, and the production of gold.

Sassi, Francesco and Francesca Frassineti, ‘Chaos at the Gates: The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Energy Price Shocks on South Korea’s Gas Industry amid Energy Transition’ (2021) 14(3) The Journal of World Energy Law & Business 190–204
Abstract: South Korea was one of the first countries to be hit by the coronavirus infections. Having rapidly contained the health emergency in the immediate period, Seoul arguably mitigated the economic fallouts more successfully than the majority of advanced economies but could not avoid substantial losses. The far-reaching fallout of COVID-19 has been testing the country’s energy transition pathway, as actors involved are facing difficult decisions amid more stringent financial constraints to deliver their ambitious targets, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Amid the combined effects of the pandemic and the global energy prices shocks, addressing the nexus between energy security on the supply side, affordability, and the safety of people’s lives and property, has become even more pressing. Against this backdrop, natural gas has tailored a special role to bridge the low carbon re-alignment of the entire Korean energy system, also in the face of the current and future challenges to Korea’s energy security. But long-drawn hurdles stemming from rather unsuccessful efforts to reform the gas system risk weakening its ability to cope with present uncertainties and heightened volatilities.

Smith, Don C, ‘COVID-19 and the Energy and Natural Resources Sectors: Little Room for Error’ (2020) 38(2) Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law 125–129
Abstract: As this issue of the journal goes to press, the COVID-19 virus continues its relentless march around the world. He notes, however, that uninterruptable power supplies, which are ‘key to sustaining necessary utility infrastructure’, are ‘only as reliable as their access to fuel’. There are a number of key issues/concerns regarding utilities’ operations during these uncertain times: Should water and electricity utilities shut off connections for nonpayment? However, during a pandemic, mutual assistance either may not be available or may be severely limited’. That said, the fact is that in these circumstances many utility workers must be in the field repairing the lines that distribute electricity. Electricity demand is being affected by the virus.

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