A Brave New Energy World?
Adapting Energy Markets to New Unforeseen Circumstances
The Journal of World Energy Law and Business (JWELB), is a peer-reviewed publication of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators and is published by Oxford University Press. JWELB currently seeks articles for publication during 2021 that are related to the below topics. Articles should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words and will be independently peer reviewed before publication.
Booms and busts have been anything but rare in the energy world. Predictions of just a couple of years ago that the oil industry’s boom-and-bust cycle may be over, following the appearance of unconventional producers responding quickly to price swings, have been taken over by the reality of an unprecedented pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has wiped out almost a third of the global oil demand through previously unimaginable lockdowns and travel bans, leading oil prices to crash. The oil sector is not alone in facing the severe impacts of the crisis. According to the IEA, global coal demand has been hit the hardest and electricity demand has also been significantly reduced, with knock-on effects on the power mix.
No crisis happens in a vacuum. Before the pandemic erupted, the energy sector was already undergoing deep changes on several fronts; the so-called ‘4Ds’ of decarbonization, decentralization, digitalization, and demand centricity have been shaping energy systems in a challenging environment of economic recession, oil and gas oversupply and dropping oil and gas prices, as well as efforts to combat climate change. The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted developments on all these fronts and leaves open questions about the effect of the pandemic on the energy transition.
In this environment of heightened volatility and unpredictability, one thing seems certain: the energy world needs to come up with new tools for managing uncertainty and adapting itself to new unforeseen circumstances and the disputes these will create. Indeed, apart from contractual disputes due to the collapse of the oil price, the call for a moratorium on all investor-state disputes during the COVID-19 crisis is indicative of the magnitude of the crisis and its long-term effects.
As countries exit lockdowns and enter this Brave New World of unpredictability, volatility and potentially conflicting policy priorities, questions arise about the energy mix that governments will opt for, as they struggle for the recovery of their economies, while trying to address the urgent needs created by climate change and the energy transition. The Netherlands’ green ideas for the EU’s recovery fund are an example of the stark policy choices that countries are called to make.
Against this background, this Call for Papers takes a holistic and interdisciplinary view of the future reforms that the energy sector is expected to go through and aims at drawing lessons from
the COVID-19 pandemic about ways in which the energy sector can cope with potential future pandemics. In this context, JWELB is particularly interested in publishing articles exploring, in particular, the following themes:
- Legal tools for addressing uncertainty and managing risks, for example, force majeure, hardship, price flexibility and review clauses, and diversion provisions in LNG SPAs.
- Policy tools for linking the management of crises with the energy transition, for example, by making energy priorities part of foreign policy or budgetary governance.
- Economic tools offering behavioral insights into the conduct of different policy makers and energy players and their responses to the pandemic, using, among others, game theory.
- Balancing diverging policies: The environmental, social and governance agenda of shareholders and financiers and the future of the oil and gas projects.
Please submit papers for consideration by 15 March 2021. Should you wish to first share your idea with a member of the editorial team, please contact JWELB’s Commissioning Editor, Ms. Sarah Harris, at firstname.lastname@example.org. View the instructions to authors for additional information on publishing with JWELB. Authors may submit their articles through the JWELB submission site here.