As part of its consultation with the energy sector, the International Centre for Energy Arbitration (ICEA) held an event in Inverness, Scotland on 3 July. Representatives of the energy and legal sectors attended, some travelling in from Dubai.
Launched by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, in October, the ICEA is a joint venture between the Scottish Arbitration Centre and the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee (CEPMLP). The First Minister said:
“Scotland is a leading international energy centre, being home to a global oil and gas hub and some of the best renewable resources and technologies on the planet. At the same time, we have built on Scotland’s distinguished legal system to develop a world-class legal framework for cost-effective arbitration services. It is fitting, therefore, that we are opening an International Centre for Energy Arbitration – a development that will further enhance Scotland’s attractiveness to global energy companies, associated professional service providers and investors.”
Aimed at developing Scotland into an international centre for energy arbitration, the ICEA builds on the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 which put Scotland at the forefront of modern arbitral law and practice. In April, ICEA launched its energy dispute resolution questionnaire: http://www.survey.dundee.ac.uk/1314-icea-energydispute/. The questionnaire is multiple choice and does not take long to complete. It is hoped that all those involved in energy dispute resolution will take the time to respond. The questionnaire will remain open until the end of July, and the event in Inverness formed part of the consultation exercise.
At the event, ‘Arbitration in the Energy Sector’, Andrew Mackenzie, secretary general of the ICEA, introduced the two speakers, Brandon Malone, co-director of the ICEA, and Dr Abba Kolo, senior lecturer at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee. Mr Malone spoke about Scottish arbitration under the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010, the Scottish Arbitration Centre, and the establishment of the ICEA and its questionnaire. Dr Kolo discussed arbitration in the international energy market and the role of CEPMLP in the ICEA. Following the presentations, the audience provided views.
Mr Malone said:
“With the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010, Scotland has one of the best systems of arbitration in the world. Furthermore, the expertise and common sense of Scots lawyers and judges and the concentration of legal and technical energy expertise, combined with the cost advantages of arbitrating in Scotland, make it the obvious choice for resolving energy disputes.”
Dr Kolo said:
“Along with the Scottish Arbitration Centre, CEPMLP is delighted to be promoting Scotland as potential seat for energy arbitration. Apart from North Sea oil and gas, Scotland generates substantial electricity from renewable energy, nuclear and water sources. Therefore, it makes sense for Scotland to explore the opportunities for a role in dispute settlement.”
Mr Mackenzie said:
“We are delighted by the success of our event in the Highlands of Scotland, where the renewable energy sector continues to grow. ICEA aims to give Scotland an arbitration niche. We continue to consult with the energy sector to establish current trends and desired requirements in respect of dispute resolution within the industry, and our questionnaire will remain open until the end of July. We will be reporting on our findings later in the year and the results will support the proposed preparation of bespoke energy arbitration rules.”