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Study launched into energy disputes and the use of arbitration

Out-Law News | 18 Jul 2022 | 1:12 pm | 1 min. read

The energy sector is encouraged to share their experiences of energy disputes and the arbitration process in a new study being led by Queen Mary University of London in partnership with Pinsent Masons.

Views are being gathered via a survey, which it is hoped will provide insights into the principal causes and types of energy disputes and the main risks and challenges faced by the energy sector in the short to medium term.

The survey asks whether arbitration will continue to be fit for purpose as the main forum to resolve cross-border energy disputes and what alternatives may be suitable, as well as what changes participants would like to make the process more economical and accessible.

Other questions are focused on the impact, risks and challenges of climate change and the energy transition on business activity and disputes in the energy sector, while input from respondents is also sought on how the invasion of Ukraine might affect the global energy supply mix and how sanctions are impacting major energy projects and energy-related arbitrations.

The survey will also address third party funding and investor-state arbitration.

Jason Hambury, an expert in international arbitration at Pinsent Masons, said: “The international energy sector is the largest user of international arbitration. We want to find out what the sector expects from arbitration in this era of market instability and unforeseen circumstances.”

“There’s no doubt that the causes of energy disputes are evolving fast, and the number of disputes is growing exponentially, notably because of the urgency of addressing the energy transition, energy supply and energy security, including the issues arising from the Russia-Ukraine crisis,” he said.

As well as parties to energy-related arbitrations, the survey is aimed at disputes practitioners, arbitrators, academics, experts and arbitral institutions. The survey is open until 12 October.

This year’s survey is the 13th international arbitration survey that Queen Mary University of London has led. The survey will be supplemented with individual interviews with a selection of the survey participants and the results of the study will be announced in January 2023.

Loukas Mistelis, a Queen Mary professor who is leading on the study, said: “We hope to collect quantitative and qualitative data to inform us about trends relating to the future of energy disputes and to capture concerns and expectations of users of arbitration. The interaction of academia and legal practice is not only desirable, but it is also essential so that academic research can have a meaningful impact and can be directed to areas where traditional research does not reach.”