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QLLM179 International and Comparative Petroleum Law and Contracts (Sem 1)

Module description:

Petroleum laws and contracts are the ultimate manifestation of policy and are the result of lengthy negotiation processes and have an unusual dynamic. According to the World Bank, between 1999 and 2010 more than 30 countries revised their petroleum contracts and made major amendments or completely changed their petroleum legal and fiscal framework.  This module will examine the main type of contracts used in the upstream petroleum industry (Production Sharing Agreements, Concessions and Service Agreements) and their most important legal and fiscal mechanisms and the reasons why these are so frequently changed. This course will also focus on the study of risk mitigation strategies in order to avoid the most common forms of legal and political risks:  expropriations and contract renegotiation. At the end of the course students will be able to understand petroleum contract dynamics from both the host country and the IOC’s point of view, understand their structure and adaptability, and the reasons why these are so frequently changed as well as the tools which are at their disposal to avoid this trend. This module will also examine the key issues when contract are negotiated and eventually renegotiated. Finally, this course will also aim to give students an introduction of how legal, political economy and business issues interact in the petroleum upstream industry.

  • Ownership of Natural Resources, Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources and the Rule of Law and Pacta Sunt Servanda.
  • Introduction to Petroleum Contracts – Concessions, Petroleum Sharing Agreements and Service Agreements.
  • Introduction to Petroleum Contracts – Concessions, Petroleum Sharing Agreements and Service Agreements.
  • Capturing the Rent – Fiscal and Contractual Mechanisms – From Royalties to Mandatory State Participation.
  • Upstream Fiscal Systems – An Economist Perspective (Guest Lecture).
  • How Oil and Gas Contracts are Awarded? Direct Awards and Competitive Bid Rounds. Liberal vs. Proprietorial Regimes.
  • Why these Contracts are Renegotiated or their Fiscal Terms Changed so Often? State Sovereignty vs. Contract Sanctity. Recent Cases.
  • Legal and Contractual Particularities of Unconventional Hydrocarbons Projects.
  • Risk Mitigation Strategies – From Stabilisation Clauses to Corporate Structure Planning. Introduction and Role of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT).
  • Dispute Resolution Methods. From Arbitration to Expert Determination. Recent Arbitration Awards Relating to Oil and Gas and Outlook.

Applicable Groupings:

Mode of Assessment:

7,500 Course Essay


22.5 Credits

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