Investment in offshore blocks has grown rapidly because of technological advances, new discoveries and the opening up of local markets. Increasingly, energy companies are looking to develop and explore oil reserves that straddle, or might straddle, maritime borders. Generally speaking, States have an interest in coordinating the development of shared reserves to maximise economic benefits. Increasingly, they are doing so using different means of transboundary unitisation.
The speakers for this seminar were:
Dr Robin Cleverly (Marbdy Consulting), the founder of Marbdy Consulting Ltd, which provides expert technical advice in the field of maritime boundary determination, particularly dispute resolution, principally to governments and law firms. This follows on from 25 years as a geologist in the oil industry with BP, 4 years as exploration manager with a specialist satellite mapping company (Nigel Press Associates), and 15 years working in the specialised field of maritime boundaries, ultimately as Head of the Law of the Sea Group at the UK Hydrographic Office. He has worked extensively on international maritime boundary court cases at the ICJ, ITLOS and Annex VII tribunals, and also on outer continental shelf submissions before the CLCS;
Dr Meagan Wong (University of Essex), a Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, where she teaches Public International Law and convenes the LLM International Law of the Sea module; and
Mr Gunjan Sharma (Volterra Fietta). Mr Sharma routinely advises States and large oil and gas companies on complex issues of international law and investment risk, including in relation to offshore investments and transboundary delimitations and unitisations. Mr Sharma has advised national governments and entities during transboundary unitisation negotiations and disputes. He has also 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, including the courts of New York. In addition to his significant litigation experience, Mr Sharma has advised clients on dispute resolution, indemnification clauses, stabilisation clauses, investment risk mitigation and sovereign immunity issues in over 300 commercial transactions.
The panel was chaired by Professor Robert Volterra (Volterra Fietta). Professor Volterra is a Partner at Volterra Fietta and visiting professor of law at University College London. Mr Volterra advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of public international law issues, including maritime delimitations and transboundary unitisations. He regularly acts as co‑agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc international arbitration tribunals, including under the PCA, ICSID, ICC, SCC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, WTO and UNCLOS rules. He is on the UK Attorney General’s A-list for public international law practitioners.
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