Canadian government-funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project hosted a training and competency development workshop on Oil and Gas in the Caribbean. The three-day session, which started on September 28 at the Accra Beach Hotel, was held in conjunction with the London Centre of International Law Practice and the University of Calgary.
IMPACT Justice, Regional Project Director, Professor Velma Newton, said that the workshop was timely considering the current momentum in deep-water exploration in countries in the Caribbean.
“The oil and gas industry is a relatively new area for most of the countries in the region. This workshop will let participants address concerns around the oil and gas industry in the Caribbean and will allow them to contribute meaningfully towards improving the sector in their respective countries.”
The 29 participants of the course (14 males and 15 females) were drawn from around the region. They included Attorneys General, public sector officers from ministries responsible for oil, gas, energy and natural resources and university lecturers and students.
The session started on Monday, September 28th with opening remarks made by Prof. Newton, Regional Project Director of IMPACT Justice. She welcomed participants on behalf of IMPACT Justice and explained that IMPACT Justice is a Canadian funded project being implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Centre, Faculty of Law, UWI Cave Hill Campus. She told participants that the two main areas of focus are the drafting of model legislation at the request of governments of 13 CARICOM Member States and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). She also stated that the project has a legal profession and education component, a public legal education component and a legal databases component. The Oil and Gas Workshop fell under the public legal education component.
She introduced the facilitators who were:
- Nigel Bankes, Chair of Natural Resources Law, Faculty of Law, The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada;
- Francesco Sindico, Expert – International Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law, London Centre of International Law Practice, United Kingdom; and
- Joseph England, Barrister-at-Law, Consultant – International Arbitration, Energy and Infrastructure and Dispute Resolution, London Centre of International Law Practice, United Kingdom.
On Day 1, Prof. Nigel Bankes presented on Maritime Boundaries and Oil and Gas Resources. Under this head he introduced maritime zones under the Law of the Sea Convention. He went on to discuss the delimitation of overlapping maritime zones, the delimitation of adjacent and opposite territorial sea claims and the delimitation of overlapping continental shelf and exclusive economic zone claims in the context of oil and gas resources.
On Day 2, Mr. Joseph England addressed Petroleum Contracts in the morning session. After introducing participants to the fundamentals of international petroleum contracts, he went on to discuss negotiation and documentation of petroleum contracts. In the afternoon, Dr. Francesco Sindico presented on Health and Safety and the Environment (HSE). This presentation comprised an introduction to HSE, legal and regulatory approaches to HSE, institutional considerations about HSE and HSE and technology. Participants were then given a group exercise on HSE on which they presented.
Mr. Joseph England returned on Day 3 with a presentation on: (1) The Impact of Fiscal Systems and Taxation; (2) Dispute Resolution and (3) Focus on Arbitration.