Issued: Fri, 25 May 2018 14:37:00 BST
Maritime Disputes and International Law: Disputed Waters and Seabed Resources in Asia and Europe
Name: Constantinos Yiallourides
HEI: University of Aberdeen
The known or suspected presence of offshore energy resources not only has prompted coastal States to elaborate expansive claims of maritime jurisdiction, many of which overlap, but it has also been influential in the efforts of some States to preclude one another from carrying out economic activities, such as petroleum exploration and exploitation and fishing, in the areas of overlapping claims. In the absence of amicable boundary settlement, possible State responses can range from protracted negotiations and verbal protests, to unilateral actions or even armed conflict.
Nevertheless, one must not view offshore energy resources merely as a source of inter-State competition and conflict but also as an opportunity to form strategic partnerships and bilateral or regional economic cooperation. Especially in geographic areas with disputed maritime boundaries, international cooperation over offshore energy resources (commonly known as joint development) has proved to be a pragmatic reflection of this opportunity: it enables the peaceful utilisation of natural resources while removing, even temporarily, the disruptive element of disputed jurisdiction from the interested States’ political agendas.
Against this background, the overall aim of this PhD project was to discern useful guidelines to inform and support diplomatic discussions on international cooperation over offshore energy resources. The project critically evaluated variations in the design of cooperation regimes over offshore energy resources having regard to successful or unsuccessful precedents in the practice of States and analysed the prospect of realising joint development regimes in selected jurisdictions.