International Energy Law and Sustainability

Course content

The main objective of the course is to provide the students with a legal understanding of a topic at the core of the global, regional and national agenda. The interaction between different regulatory instruments, relevant policies of development and use of natural resources and various environmental and sustainability impact issues will be treated in the light of international law, European Union law and national law. A further aim of the course is to develop students’ insight into ways in which economic, environmental and sustainability considerations influence the resolution of legal conflicts. Taking the view that learning can be enhanced by study outside the classroom, 1-2 visits to a relevant facility or institution will be organised for the students.

1. Introduction to the Energy and Environment Scene
• What is Energy Law?
• Major energy sectors: Gas, oil, coal, renewables, nuclear, electricity, heat, and conservation.
• Major energy activities: Production, transport, transmission, distribution, supply and trade.
• The environmental impact of energy production and use: the air, the water, the subsoil, the landscape and the sea.
• Institutional framework: International organizations, European Union institutions and national governments.

2. Policy Developments
• From extensive public intervention and control to market liberalisation and competition.
• Increased cooperation and globalisation.
• Energy security in an unsecure world.
• The need to balance market philosophy against negative environmental consequences.
• The Sustainability Revolution.

3. Regulatory Models and the Interaction Between Different Instruments
• The structure of the industry – public and private, monopoly and competition-exposed structures.
• Allocation of rights and duties between the industry and the government.
• Statutory regulation, licence systems, tendering, planning systems, negotiation systems, taxes and subsidies.

4. Application of Basic Principles of the EU Treaties to the Energy Sector
• Free movement of goods, competition rules and State aids.
• The Impact of International Environmental Law Principles on the Energy Sector.
• Principle of Sustainable Development.

6. Exploration and Exploitation of Oil and Gas
• The rights under international law of coastal and other states in the mineral resources of the oceans and the sea bed.
• Licensing regimes - award and conditions - EU and national regulation.
• State taking and Regulation of Resource Interests under international law.

7. Protection of the Environment in relation to Oil and Gas Activities
• Environmental Impact Assesment.
• Abandonment of offshore installations.

8. Electricity, Gas and Heat Supply and Trade
• The internal energy market directives and regulations
• Licence regimes - award and conditions.
• Rights of transit and third party access to electricity and gas pipeline systems.
• Public service obligations.
• Price regulation.

9. Protection of the Environment in relation to Energy Supply and Use
• Planning requirements
• Green taxes and green certificates.
• The regime on climate - the 1992 Climate Convention (UNFCCC), the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the emission trading schemes

10. Renewables and energy efficiency.
• Wind, solar and biofuels.
• Public support and other regulatory instruments.

11. Energy Security.
• Securing energy in an unstable world.
• Beyond the carbon economy – replacing oil and gas resources.

12. The European Energy Charter Treaty
• East-West treaty-based co-operation in the energy field.
• Promotion of economic development and investment protection in Eastern Europe and Russia.
• Legal rules governing investment protection conflicts.

• Selected Chapters from Energy Law in Europe, edited by Martha Roggenkamp, Catherine Redgwell,Inigo del Guayo and Anita Rønne. Oxford University Press and articles to be uploaded on Absalon. Students are requested not to purchase the book beforehand as only parts of it is mandatory reading. The teacher organises collective purchase of the relevant parts directly with the publisher to receive student discount.
• Collection of relevant legal texts: to be found on homepage.

Required readings cover app. 550 pages.

All course materials are in the English language and class discussions will be conducted in English. Students must have a reasonable knowledge of English, but it need not be perfect.

Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Written exam, 4 hours with invigilation
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 34
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • English
  • 275