Editorial, Volume I, issue #03 - July 2003
Article from: OGEL 3 (2003), in Editorial
We are pleased to introduce OGEL 3 (2003). The OGEL team has grown substantially. In addition to colleagues at CEPMLP/Dundee, I have now developed a global network of both Associate Editors focusing on specific areas, and an even wider network of close to 100 Corresponding Editors. Ruth Eldon, the former Editorial Director of the International Bar Association, now acts as Deputy Managing Editor. We also now enjoy collaborative relationships with EURELECTRIC and the International Gas Union (IGU). OGEL 4 will have an added special section on natural gas, while further OGEL issues will have special sections on taxation, corporate governance and human rights.
Global intelligence gathering
OGEL continues to be linked (and sometimes fed) by the two globally-reaching internet forums I run: OGEMID, a restricted forum for practising international arbitrators, mediators and negotiators focusing on oil, gas, energy, mining, infrastructure and investment disputes, and ENATRES, an extensive discussion and information internet instrument dealing with energy and natural resources law, policy and regulatory intelligence.
We also derive support, and in particular information, intelligence and insight - mostly on an informal, personal basis - from colleagues in the key international organisations, eg the World Bank, the IEA, the OECD, the EU Commission, OPEC, the Energy Charter Treaty Secretariat and other governmental, professional and industry organisations. I seek at present to involve also competent professionals from the most relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It seems to me that all these governmental and non-governmental organisations would benefit from less insulation and greater external accountability and transparency, best achieved in the form of a non-formal, but professional and quality-oriented dialogue such as offered by OGEL and my internet forums.
Leading portal on energy regulation
OGEL 3 will continue the 'columns' by respected commentators, in particular former General Counsels Jim Gunderson and Richard Shoylekov, on international corporate governance and management of corporate law departments. You will also note the growing contribution by leading international law firms, including Dewey Ballantine (led by Earle O'Donnell and Stephen Horvath) with a sequence of special surveys of domestic and regional energy laws, but also Allen & Overy, Denton Wilde Sapte, Herbert Smith, Thelen Reid and many others. It is our ambition that OGEL becomes the global internet portal for intelligence on energy regulation with regular inputs from the leading practitioners: a 'Who's Who' in international energy law.
The OGEL series of 'international agency' profiles will continue in OGEL 3 with the European Union, following the earlier profiles of the IEA and OPEC (future profiles will focus on the World Bank, the UN, the OECD, the UNCC and other governmental and non-governmental organisations; I invite contributors to put together profiles of the major international oil, gas and energy companies). The focus on the European Union includes a longer comment on the 'international dimension of EU energy law and policy', a series of EU official report digests and comments on them, plus primary EU documents.
OGEL 3 will continue debates from earlier issues (Iraq, international dispute settlement and investment arbitration relevant to the oil, gas and energy industries). The section on international disputes continues the discussion of recent arbitral awards, but also of mediation features.
Energy and electricity regulation
A special feature of OGEL 3 is an extensive collection of articles, comments, notes, news and primary legal and official documents in the area of electricity regulation. Electricity used to be a mainly domestic, state-owned and monopolistic industry. But that has changed. Privatisation, de-regulation and competitive markets are emerging almost everywhere, although not without pain. My own advisory team has been heavily involved, not only in legislative reform, but also in several large-scale, complex, cross-border contract and investment disputes, all under the shadow of, sometimes, three moving and disjointed regulatory regimes. Some of the insights gained are reflected in pertinent comments, including from our partners in major law firms.
OGEL Knowledgebank, Archive & Bibliography
This issue of OGEL 3 marks the launch of the full OGEL service. One of its features is its database for primary legal materials ('OGEL Knowledgebank'). We have already collected a large number of modern energy laws, arbitral awards, treaties and voluntary guidelines. They will be available to full OGEL subscribers, as will the collective OGEL Archive ('OGEL Journal') which will bring together all existing contributions to the OGEL Newsletters, but also a relevant selection from the well-known and much-used CEPMLP Internet Journal and other sources to which we have privileged access. The OGEL Archive also features ample options for searching.
Next to the OGEL Knowledgebank and Archive the full OGEL service offers access to an extensive Bibliography database with search options. Already the Bibliography contains more than 600 relevant references and increases at a steady rate.
OGEL Internet Forum
With OGEL 3 (2003) online, the new OGEL internet forum will also be available soon. This will be a forum for instant broadcasting of news - by all members, and for posting of queries and debate. My experience with the two Internet Forums I currently manage, is that these interactive, high-value forums with their constant updating operate very much to the satisfaction and professional enrichment of all their members. The OGEL Forum will allow instant posting of news and insight (and sometimes we have provided news faster than even the leading newspapers and other newsletters). But unlike virtually all other news-posting services of this type which are strictly controlled by the owners in a vertical command-control structure, the OGEL Forum will be interactive and thereby involve the membership by active participation. The objective - unlike almost all other publishers - is that the OGEL community will, with some additional effort at facilitation and moderation, largely inform itself. The OGEL Forum will be the principal instrument of reciprocal, network-based, intelligence.
Given the essential instrument of applied legal research that the internet provides (which I find is appreciated and utilized mainly - but not exclusively - by younger colleagues), we have enhanced our guide on relevant internet sources, mainly here with a guide on electricity law and electricity regulatory policy. This complements other references to internet sources, in particular of the World Bank and the Harvard Electricity Policy Project.
OGEL Special Studies
A first OGEL Special Study (extensive, in-depth researched and documented special studies) by Mike Bunter on oil in Iraq is now available, Iraq - The Petroleum Exploration & Production Handbook. Future special studies will cover corporate governance, human rights and subjects such as upstream oil and gas tax, environmental regulation and more.
My own TWA international mediation service - focused on solving innovatively and efficiently complex cross-border disputes without resort to litigation - will be attached to the OGEL system. I am currently building up an international network of experienced mediators and dispute experts with a successful track record. This network may evolve into an international mediation institute with quality-control and certification authority.
It is now time to subscribe to OGEL
With all OGEL features now in place - the bi-monthly OGEL newsletter, the OGEL Archive (or OGEL Journal), the OGEL Knowledgebank, the OGEL Bibliography and the OGEL Forum coming soon - it is now time to think of subscription. The service must evidently be able to at least cover its cost. The publishers, in consulting with the editors, have devised two levels of subscription:
- The basic level of subscription at a very low price aimed at maximum distribution will include the bi-monthly OGEL newsletter and participation in the OGEL Forum;
- The premium level of subscription will cover the OGEL newsletter, participation in the OGEL Forum, but also the full text of all articles, comments, cases and other documents which are only referred to by title or abstract in the newsletter, plus full access, with efficient search engines, to the OGEL Archive, Knowledgebank and Bibliography. This will be the normal level of professional subscription recommended.
Information on prices with a differentiated subscription fee structure for single- and multi-user subscription, and also a subscription form, may be found on the OGEL website here.