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Title: Joint development of oil and gas resources : the way forward in disputed waters
Author: Yiallourides, Constantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 2303
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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The settlement of the maritime boundary disputes between China and Japan in the East China Sea, and between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea, is politically deadlocked. While diplomatic settlement efforts have been ongoing for the past several decades, neither side in each case appears prepared to back down from its respective maritime claims. Bilateral consultations and negotiations have been unable to prevent occasional flare-ups and, as tensions remain significantly high, it may not be long before one of the not infrequent confrontations spirals out of control. The existing status quo in each case is unstable and does not favour either side, both from the perceptive of contaminating bilateral relations as a whole, but also to the extent that it holds hostage the multiple benefits that could otherwise be generated from the exploitation of the seabed energy resources in the contested waters. Indeed, while important discoveries of commercial hydrocarbon accumulations have been made, and in fact, some of them are currently being developed in the peripheries of the East China Sea and the Aegean, the full mineral potential of the contested areas remain unproven and unrealised due to the ongoing maritime and territorial conflicts. That being the case, the debate surrounding these two conflicts has progressed to the point where there is an urgent need for a meaningful discussion on finding a practical way forward. It is the purpose of the present thesis to address this need, first, by undertaking a detailed analysis of these disputes on the basis of the legal rules and principles of international law and; second, by critically evaluating possible institutional designs of interstate cooperation on the exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources in disputed areas. This thesis considers that because of the near-impossibility of settling the maritime and territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the Aegean, at least in the short term, and the remote possibility of meaningfully utilising the resources in the given areas while these conflicts persist, provisional interstate cooperation in the form of joint development constitutes the best alternative course of action for disputing states to coordinate the exploration and exploitation of resources without having resorted previously to boundary delimitation settlement. On the basis of the above analysis, this thesis discusses the prospect of realising joint development regimes in the East China Sea and the Aegean and their appropriate institutional design in the light of the legal, historical, political, and geographical characteristics of the disputes in question. The overall aim of the present study is to discern useful guidelines that can be used to inform and support diplomatic discussions on bilateral cooperation over disputed seabed energy resources by addressing three key objectives: - Better understanding of the longstanding East China Sea and Aegean maritime boundary disputes under the rules of the public international law of the sea, as developed to date having regard to international jurisprudence and state practice. - Conceptualisation and better understanding of the legal characteristics and functional benefits of joint development regimes. - Critical evaluation of variations in the design of joint development regimes having regard to successful or unsuccessful precedents in the practice of states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities ; A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Maritime law ; Natural gas ; Petroleum law and legislation ; Boundary disputes ; Joint ventures