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Five Years of Energy Law in Groningen, 28 September 2011

18 October 2011

The Groningen Centre of Energy Law organized a one day conference on September 28, 2011 in order to celebrate its fifth anniversary. During the last five years the Centre has been involved in a wide range of teaching and research activities. Members of the Centre presented their work jointly with a selection of practitioners who have been supporting the Centre during this period. At the same time the conference illustrated the developments currently taking place in the energy sector and the role of law in this process.

The University’s Chairman, Professor Sibrand Poppema, mentioned in his opening speech that the focus on energy in the University of Groningen, as exemplified by the work of the Groningen Centre of Energy Law (GCEL), is a response to the demand for scholars, technicians and other forms of expertise related to energy and energy law.This conference embodied the relationship between academics and practice with several presentations.

Legal Challenges for Infrastructure in a Liberalised and Competitive Energy Market

Chair: Dr Martha Roggenkamp, Professor in Energy Law and Director GCEL

Phillip Lowe, Director-General for energy at the European Commission, gave a presentation on the challenges facing the renewal of European energy infrastructure in a competitive internal market, which formed a good introduction to the following subject matter.

Mr. Philip Lowe, Director-General for Energy, European Commission

Competition in Energy Markets and Access to Networks

Chair: Dr Hans Vedder, Professor of Economic Law and Co-director GCEL

With Professor Hans Vedder as chairman, Cees Pissuise (Gasunie) elaborated on the requirements in European law for the unbundling of energy generation and transmission, while Hannah Kruimer discussed competition in energy markets and access to networks based on the principle of non-discriminatory system operation. She concluded that, even after unbundling, discriminatory incentives may remain.

Mr. Cees Pisuisse, Director Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs, NV Nederlandse Gasunie jointly with

Ms. Hannah Kruimer, LLM, PhD researcher GCEL/University of Groningen

Securing Energy Supply through Investment Protection: The EU-Russia Relationship

Chair: Mr. Huub Willems, Professor of Corporate Litigation and Legal Advisor to the Law Commission of the Russian Federation

The next session explored the role that legal provision for investment protection could play in securing energy supply with a focus on the EU-Russian relationship.Professor Huub Willems, who is, inter alia, a legal advisor to the Russian Law Commission, chaired the session. The first presentation examined the Energy Charter Treaty, and was provided by Graham Coop, General Counsel of the Energy Charter Secretariat. This was followed by the presentation of Dr Anatole Boute (University of Aberdeen) who discussed the possibility of promoting energy efficiency through legal instruments for investment protection. The message of both presentations was clear: in order to secure energy supply the relationship with Russia is of the utmost importance to the European Union.

Mr. Graham Coop, General Counsel Legal Affairs, Energy Charter Secretariat jointly with

Dr Anatole Boute, University of Aberdeen and Alumnus/Fellow GCEL/University of Groningen

Developing Small Oil and Gas Fields in the North Sea: New Legal Instruments and Lessons to be Learned

Chair: Dr Irene Burgers, Professor of International Tax Law

The outstanding lunch provided conference attendees with energy and vitamins, and, after this hour of networking, it was time to continue with the conference. The first speakers of the afternoon session, Professor John Paterson (University of Aberdeen) and Gerrit Vriezen (NAM), gave a joint presentation under the guidance of chairwoman Professor Irene Burgers. They made a comparative analysis of the non-fiscal and fiscal measures related to the exploitation of small oil and gas field production in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Mr. Gerrit Vriezen, Legal Manager, Nam jointly with Prof. Dr John Paterson, School of Law, University of Aberdeen

Regulating Carbon Capture and Storage: EU, National and Cross-border Perspectives

Chair: Dr Edwin Woerdman, Associate Professor in Law and Economics and Co-director of the GCEL

Dr Edwin Woerdman, co-director of GCEL, opened the next topic by initiating a debate over the desirability of storing carbon (as compared to other measures for incentivising reductions in European carbon emissions). This provided a good introduction to the presentation by Christoph Becker-Bercke (RWE) on difficulties related to the transposition of the CCS-Directive in Germany. Marijn Holwerda and Dr Avelien Haan-Kamminga then went on to raise counterarguments in their joint presentation as to why Carbon Capture and Storage is necessary. Significantly, they discussed the legal issues raised by the prospect of the cross-border transportation of carbon for storage in Carbon Capture and Storage facilities.

Mr. Christoph Becker-Berke, Senior Manager Mining and Planning Law, RWE jointly with

Dr Avelien Haan, Postdoctoral researcher, GCEL/University of Groningen and Mr. Marijn Holwerda, LLM, PhD researcher GCEL/University of Groningen

Securing Energy Supply through Developing Offshore Energy Infrastructure: The Nord Stream Pipeline

Chair: Dr Marcel Brus, Professor of Public International Law

After a short coffee and tea break the conference continued with the last topic: offshore energy infrastructure and energy security with Professor Marcel Brus as chairman. Nicola Cho’s presentations explored the role of the Nordstream pipeline in securing Europe’s energy supply as well as discussing legal issues (and particularly concerning environmental governance) arising from the transboundary nature of the development.

Ms. Nichola Cho, LLM, PhD researcher, GCEL/University of Groningen

Securing Energy Supply through Developing Offshore Energy Infrastructure: The North Sea Electricity Grid

This was followed by presentations concerning legal issues associated with the possibility of developing a North Sea electricity grid. Olivia Woolley focussed on the challenges that offshore grid infrastructure may present for the current European regulatory framework for the electricity sector. She concluded that a range of challenges may arise and that action at the international, European and national levels may be required to establish a supportive legal framework for a North Sea offshore grid. Hannah Müller considered issues raised by the possible development of a North Sea electricity grid from an international law perspective. She examined the international law framework for offshore grid development and concluded both that this may not provide clarity over how jurisdiction should be exercised over offshore electricity infrastructure and may, because of this, also result in concurrent and conflicting claims for jurisdiction by states. Action may, again, be necessary at different levels of governance, including between states through treaties, to provide clarity on these matters.

Ms. Olivia Woolley, LLM, Postdoctoral researcher, GCEL/ University of Groningen jointly with

Ms. Hannah Müller, LLM, PhD researcher, GCEL/ University of Groningen

The Role of the IEA in providing Long-term Sustainable Energy Supply

Ms Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), explained the role of the IEA in providing long term energy supply. This was presented by video message, since she was not able to attend the conference in person.

The last speaker was Professor Jan Berend Wezeman, Dean of the Faculty of Law. He addressed the importance of GCEL and the EDGaR program and how these institutions place Groningen on the map in the world of energy. With some closing remarks by Professor Martha Roggenkamp, the conference came to an end with a reception where the speakers and the guests were able to review this interesting day.

Find here the conference announcement and the information on registration and pogramme.

Last modified:12 September 2023 4.00 p.m.

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