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School of Law

SOLM309 Select Public International Law Issues in Energy

Module description

The module on 'Select Public International Law Issues in Energy' examines the application of public international law to inter-state energy activities.

States have long taken responsibility for satisfying domestic demand for energy. Traditionally, this could largely be done at the local or, at times, regional level. Over the last fifty years, however, increasing demand for energy and, in part as a result, the progressive exhaustion of traditional energy sources has led to a more extensive interdependence between mineral resource-rich and mineral resource-scarce countries and cooperation in the energy sector. This, in turn, has led to state regulation of these activities and the emergence of a complex web of inter-state norms and practices. These norms have also evolved significantly as a result of the climate emergency and Russia's invasion of Ukraine which has led to a recent energy crisis. 

Part I of the module provides the foundations of public international law concepts and principles applicable to energy activities, as well as covering the actors engaged in these activities, with a strong focus on states as the primary actors initiating and endorsing energy activities. Part II covers plurilateral and bilateral treaties governing energy activities, including treaties on the joint exploitation of common offshore oil and gas deposits, treaties on the joint exploitation of international watercourses, treaties on cross-border transportation of hydrocarbons, and energy cooperation treaties. This Part also cover the interplay between these treaties and custom. Part III examines how public international law deals with the decommissioning of energy installations.

Applicable programmes


30 credits

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