The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (“UNCLOS”) includes provisions for at least three categories of energy installations: offshore platforms used for oil and gas exploration and exploitation; offshore platforms used for the generation of energy from renewable sources; and submarine cables and pipelines. The regulatory framework for each one of these should cover each stage of their deployment, from the initial determination of coastal State jurisdiction to placement and operational responsibility. It should also cover potential liability for any damage caused by their presence in the marine environment. There is a wide variety of rules applicable, some of them of long provenance, others newly-minted; some of them specific to the task, others offering simply the general parameters of a regulation. As energy operations at sea expand, the multitude of applicable rules adds to the challenges we face for the future.

In this talk, we will attempt to discuss points of interest, taking also into consideration the role offshore installations may or may not play in the determination of judicial proceedings before international courts and tribunals.

Bibliographical notes:

Maria Gavouneli, Offshore energy: Troubled waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, in Harry Scheiber, James Kraska & Moon-Sang Kwon (eds), Science, Technology and New Challenges to Ocean Law, Brill 2015, pp. 253-279
Maria Gavouneli, Energy installations in the marine environment, in Jill Barrett & Richard Barnes (eds.), Law of the Sea: UNCLOS as a living treaty, BIICL 2016, pp. 187-208


Professor Maria Gavouneli is Assistant Professor of International Law at the University of Athens. Having completed her undergraduate studies in Athens, she obtained an LL.M. and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, winning the Paul Guggenheim Prize for her doctorate thesis. Besides her academic position in Athens, Maria is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London), as well as an Associate at the Hellenic Institute of International & Foreign Law. She is also visiting professor and lecturer in several universities and research institutions, counsel and legal advisor to governments and private entities, and arbitrator and counsel in environmental and energy matters.

She is member of several academic organisations, including the British Institute of International & Comparative Law (visiting researcher in 2000); the American Society of International Law (co-chair, Law of the Sea Interest Group - LOSIG, 2012-2015); the European Society of International Law (co-convenor, Interest Group on the Law of the Sea - LAWSEA, 2014-2016); the Association international de droit de la mer, the International Law Association (treasurer and founding member of the Hellenic Branch); the Hellenic Society of International Law & International Relations (secretary-general, 2014-2016).

Author of four monographs, including Pollution from offshore installations (Martinus Nijhoff 1995 – Prix Paul Guggenheim), State immunity and the rule of law (Athens 2001), Functional jurisdiction in the Law of the Sea (Martinus Nijhoff 2007), Οffshore energy installations (Nomiki Vivliothiki 2015 – in Greek); edited volumes, including Anastasia Strati, Maria Gavouneli & Nikos Skourtos (eds.), Time Before and Time After – Unresolved Issues and New Challenges to the Law of the Sea (Martinus Nijhoff 2006); several chapters in books and numerous articles in the areas of environmental law, energy law, law of the sea, corruption, human rights and humanitarian law; editor-in-chief and member of the board of several law journals.


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The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

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