Webinar: Title to Oil and Gas in Disputed Maritime Areas

2022 marks another anniversary of the opening of signature of the 1982 UNCLOS.  40 years and nearly 170 State parties later, it still forms the basic legal framework for the law of the sea, covering issues from navigation, piracy and maritime boundaries.

Volterra Fietta’s second instalment of its seminar series on UCLOS will consider title to Oil and Gas in Disputed Maritime Areas.  This virtual seminar provided an opportunity to discuss the rights and obligations of coastal States with respect to the development of natural resources, particularly oil and gas, in disputed areas subject to overlapping claims, under UNCLOS.  In particular, the seminar addressed how these conflicts have an effect on oil and gas development in disputed maritime areas.

The distinguished panel of speakers for this seminar were:

Constantinos Yiallourides: Dr Yiallourides is the Arthur Watts Research Fellow in Law of the Sea at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) where he leads the Institute’s Watts Programme of research, training, and events in the law of the sea and global ocean governance.  He is also a lecturer in international law at Macquarie University, School of Law, Sydney.  He was previously lecturer in international law at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, post-doctoral researcher in energy law and policy at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and visiting scholar-in-residence at Waseda University, Institute for Advance Study, Japan.  Dr Yiallourides’ research focuses on the law of territory, the law of the sea, environmental and natural resources law and the peaceful settlement of international disputes more broadly.

Nkeiru Scotcher: Dr Scotcher is a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ocean Governance and the Law of the Sea at the University of Gothenburg.  Dr Scotcher is a member of the Legal Team of ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force which explores the potential for submarine climate monitoring and disaster warning systems at sea.  She has worked with the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea at the United Nations Secretariat on the ad hoc open-ended informal working group meetings dealing with marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Dr Scotcher’s research focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to regional ocean governance, the law of the sea, international institutions, maritime security, and marine biodiversity.

Gunjan Sharma, Counsel at Volterra Fietta.  Mr Sharma has represented States before the International Court of Justice, represented investors and States in investor-State arbitrations and been counsel to clients before numerous US courts.  He has served as an expert witness on behalf of a State on matters of sovereign immunity, public international law and administrative law.  He also counsels clients, including States, on maritime and territorial disputes and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  He has advised States as legal counsel during treaty negotiations and on boundary delimitation matters.  In 2020, the Legal 500 listed Gunjan under the “Rising Star” category for public international law.  The same publication noted that peers and clients referred to Mr Sharma as a “future star in the public international law area for sure”.

The panel was moderated by Peter Flint.  Mr Flint is a Partner at Volterra Fietta.  He has a particular focus on international arbitration, cross-border litigation and ADR.  Over his career, Mr Flint has been advisor to governments and commercial parties in connection with international disputes of a global nature in a wide range of jurisdictions around the world.  His experience covers a broad range of commercial sectors, including oils and gas exploration, energy generation and distribution, rail infrastructure, banking and finance instruments, aeronautical engineering, construction and telecoms.

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