Avoiding litigation has become ever more complicated as the oil and gas industry has grown. The internationalisation of the industry has led to cross-border disputes and disputes over international technical standards, in addition to the regulatory compliance issues that vary from state to state. The long-term nature of oil and gas contracts leads to other difficulties, as, quite often, predictions with regard to risks, costs and pricing turn out to be too optimistic. Further difficulties that arise over privatisations and restructurings are among the various challenges that the management of oil and gas firms now face.
Given the huge cost of litigation to the oil and gas industry over contractual disputes, market participants are increasingly exploring alternatives to litigation. In April 2004 the WPC organised an international conference jointly with the Energy Institute; the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law Policy and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators to bring together leading experts in dispute resolution techniques to discuss the key issues of concern to the international oil and gas industry today. Delegates could hear the latest thinking from the international courts and arbitral tribunals, and listen to legal and industry experts who will discuss specific cases from around the world. At the conference cocktail party, hosted by the Corporation of London the delegates could network with some 300 senior representatives from London-based investment banks, fund management firms and insurance companies.
The list of distinguished speakers included:
HRH The Duke of Kent
Rt Hon Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, Honorary President, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Ulf Franke, Secretary General, Arbitration Institute, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce
Judge Roslyn Higgins, International Court of Justice
Tjaco T van den Hout, Secretary-General, Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague
Professor Martin Hunter, Essex Court Chambers (LCIA)
Antonio R Parra, Deputy Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
Rt Hon Sir Mark Potter, Lord Justice of Appeal
Dr Eivald Røren, President, World Petroleum Congress
Matthew Secomb, Counsel, ICC International Court of Arbitration
William K Slate II, President and CEO, American Arbitration Association (AAA)