Published 8 October 2021
The reality of energy transition is not questionable, however, the opportunities, challenges and uncertainties that it presents are yet to be fully understood. This paper adds to the energy transition literature and unlike the usual theoretical analysis of the challenges and opportunities that energy transition presents, it examines practically one aspect of the legal challenges that energy transition will present to petroleum-producing developing countries in the Global South especially Sub-Saharan Africa. It critically assesses how three related petroleum contractual phenomena namely: internationalisation of contracts; stabilisation clauses; and international arbitration (oft used risk management devices in petroleum investment contracts found in a majority of petroleum contracts and regulatory frameworks in petroleum-producing developing countries) will legally hinder and impede energy transition in these petroleum-producing developing countries in a post-COVID-19 era. It argues that energy transition in petroleum-producing developing countries post-COVID-19 pandemic might be a mirage as the countries may not only lose the means to economic growth, social development and industrialisation as well as recover from the impacts of COVID-19 on their economy but may be subject to investment disputes with International Oil Companies (IOC) and may perhaps be contractually liable to the IOCs to compensate the IOCs for loss of profit occasioned by the new energy transition paradigm.