On Thursday 8 October 2015, the Energy Charter Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) conducted its third meeting of 2015 at the Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels. The meeting was attended by several members and energy experts, including representatives of Abengoa, AXPO, Cefic, CEZ, Dow Europe, Edison, EDP, Eni, EU Turbines, Gaz-System, GO15, Mitsui, Moldovagaz, NEC and Statoil.
The meeting discussed the modernisation of the Energy Charter Process and the modernisation of the Industry Advisory Panel. There was a presentation on the modernisation of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and lessons learnt from Investment Disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which are core issues of the ECT and of utmost importance for the energy industry. As a final point, there were a series of presentations on the prospects of energy investments in Africa and the Americas, demonstrating the global reach of the IAP.
Mr. Howard Chase, Chairman of the IAP, opened the session reviewing the earlier meetings of the year and restating the purpose of the panel as strengthening the interaction between the ECT constituency and the industry with a special focus on the effective implementation of the ECT.
The Energy Charter Secretariat Director Mr. Steivan Defilla made a keynote presentation on the modernisation of the Energy Charter Process. He addressed the current efforts of the Energy Charter Secretariat in outreach countries and the role of the International Energy Charter as a tool of global governance in the energy sector.
Dr. Matteo Barra Investment Expert from the Energy Charter Secretariat presented the answers of the IAP members to a questionnaire relating to the mandate, activities and structure of the IAP. The members discussed the outcome of the questionnaire and will debate amending the 2012 Terms of Reference of the IAP over the coming weeks.
The second session was opened by Mr. Robert Hunter, barrister and investment arbitrator. Mr. Hunter presented some commentaries regarding investment disputes under the ECT, including the decisions against the Russian Federation in the Yukos case and the recent debate regarding ISDS in Europe. The issue was well engaged in by the IAP members. Some members expressed the need for a more intense support from the industry to the ISDS system in times of great negative activity towards the ISDS led by NGOs.
In the afternoon, Dr. Francesco Stipo, lawyer and expert in the field of global LNG, presented the latest developments on American LNG exports. He stressed that the United States had traditionally been a gas importer but now needs to build the necessary infrastructure to export its gas surplus. The discussions was followed by a debate among the members regarding the infrastructure for LNG in Europe and the projections for American LNG imports in Europe.
Finally, secondees and trainees from the Energy Charter Secretariat gave presentations on the prospects for investment in Africa and Latin America. Ms. Adriana Viloria, trainee from Colombia, presented opportunities for foreign investors in the Colombian electric sector; Mr. Eduardo Arias, trainee from Peru, gave an overview of Peru’s main energy challenges; Mr. Francisco Merino, trainee from Chile, presented the legal framework for renewable and low carbon energy in Chile; Mr. Guilherme Schwartsmann, trainee from Brazil, discussed the challenges of the Brazilian state-owned company Petrobras in the development of the pre-salt off-shore reserves in Brazil. The last speaker, Mr. Salifou Gado, secondee at the Energy Charter Secretariat from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum of the Republic of Niger gave an overall presentation of the energy sector in Niger.
The meeting concluded with a discussion led by IAP Chairman Mr. Howard Chase, with remarks from Mr. Steivan Defilla and Dr. Matteo Barra, regarding the planning of IAP activities in 2016 and the drafting of the annual communication of the IAP to the Energy Charter Conference in Tbilisi on 3-4 December 2015. The substantial number of participating companies and debates reaffirmed the importance of the IAP as a useful forum between the industry and the Energy Charter Process.