Article from: OGEL 3 (2011), in Editorial
International attention to the issues concerning cross-border pipelines has been on the rise over the last decade. The number of cross-border oil and gas pipeline projects recently completed or being currently developed, planned or discussed is continuously growing, mostly as a result of the increased concerns about security of energy supply, demand and diversification. The question of secure and reliable transit has become also of paramount importance because of the increased distances between traditional markets and petroleum producing countries, many of which are landlocked.
Cross-border pipelines have a somewhat patchy history being often hostages of political or military conflicts, as was the case of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline during and after the first Gulf war. They are exposed to various political and economic risks. They may in turn generate conflicts and controversies as well, especially if attempts are made to renegotiate the terms of transit agreements.
The lack of an over-arching general legal framework and a multitude of regulatory instruments and regimes governing pipeline construction and operation is another factor which may affect the long-term sustainability of existing and future pipeline projects, particularly those involving more than two states along their course. The present transit regime established under the Energy Charter Treaty is inefficient in resolving transit disputes, as was demonstrated by the continuous wrangling between Ukraine and Russia over transit fees and the price of Russian gas supplied to Ukraine. Some recent attempts to strengthen this regime by adopting a new Transit Protocol to the ECT have so far been futile, particularly in view of the Russian decision to leave the Energy Charter Treaty altogether.
The aim of this OGEL special issue is to promote the debate about cross-border pipelines from various perspectives, including geopolitical, legal (international and national) and economic, in order to contribute to still evolving academic and practical research and discussion of this relatively new area. As a result this special issue covers to various degree all of the above aspects.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Kim Talus and OGEL publisher for their assistance in preparing this special.