Article from: OGEL 5 (2003), in Editorial
OGEL 5 (2003) continues the commentary on significant developments in the area of oil, gas and energy law, policy and regulation. We are increasing our core group of Associate Editors, with new specialists on nuclear law from Norway and Nigeria.
The uptake of the subscription-based OGEL service has further increased. We now include OPEC, Saudi ARAMCO, the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas, ANADARKO, Ruhrgas-Eon among our major subscribers - in addition to the increasing group of law firms, consultants and universities. CEPMLP/Dundee is providing full access to all of its 25+ staff and 200+ graduate students as a conscious policy to provide its graduate school - the world's largest and leading in oil, gas and energy law and policy - with the best and most up-to-date intelligence available; CEPMLP graduate students thus have acquired a valuable comparative and competitive advantage.
OGEL 5 continues its tradition of inviting leading international specialists to act as invited 'Special Editors'. Richard Shoylekov, of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and former General Counsel of AGIP, has put together a very interesting and up-to-date Special Section on the Implications of Bribery in the international energy industries.
Bribery is a constant challenge for energy companies: the grant of upstream acreage by license/contract can be of great value and is therefore a natural opportunity for bribery; subcontracting - in particular in case of an obligation to provide domestic procurement in producing countries with a low governance level - is another natural entry for bribery practices. Few established oil companies would ever wish to be involved in bribery; circumstances and competition, however, can act as a driver pushing project managers keen to show a result into actions not condoned by policies designed at corporate headquarters.
The implementation, in national law, of the OECD convention against bribery attempts to create - slowly - a more level playing field and a more united front of companies, but it also pits corporate headquarters - under pressure from national law and their own reputations - against project teams required to show tangible success. Under the pressure of such legal and reputational concerns, there is a logical strategy to out-contract the legally and reputationally risky 'dirty business' to external consultants engaged in 'government relations', lobbying and to partners and farm-out sellers of acreage not subject to the same constraints. The articles, comments, guidelines and related materials should help to better understand the issue and design and apply practical anti-corruption policies within the global organisational network of multinational companies.
Geopolitics of Oil and Gas
Professor Giacomo Luciani, formerly a senior corporate strategist for ENI and now professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, organised in 2003 a conference, together with the Aspen Institute, on the geopolitics of energy. The geopolitical context of oil and gas development in particular serves as the foundation for several legal challenges at present - eg the evolution of regulatory, project finance and contractual practices in the budding natural gas sector, the entry into Saudi Arabia (gas), Kuwait (oil) and perhaps at some point Iraq. Professor Luciani has prepared a special section of OGEL on the geopolitical context of oil and gas law.
We will continue the expansion of OGEL into specific oil, gas and energy countries and regions (Nigeria, Asia, Norway, UK) and into particular sensitive subjects (corporate governance, corporate responsibility and human rights; taxation; production-sharing contracts; environmental regulation; renewable energy). The international dispute settlement section of OGEL is now well established and includes case comments on the most recent and relevant international investment awards (CME v Czech; SGS v Pakistan; Bechtel v OPIC (Dhabol) et al).
OGEL is now further adding a regular section on international nuclear law edited by Dr Norbert Pelzer, one of the internationally leading authorities in the field.
OGEL 5 provides a total of about 200 comments, with a total page volume of probably over 1,500 pages, including the topical internet survey (bribery in international business transactions); selected news and bibliography.
I invite our readers to encourage further subscription and help us to build OGEL as a global community of professionals with reciprocal exchange of insights and intelligence. I am always on the look-out for 'leaders' to act as a Special Section Editor in a relevant subject where they can display a particular expertise.
Editor in Chief
Thomas W Wälde
Professor & Jean-Monnet Chair
And Principal, Thomas Wälde & Associates