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Title: Law and power relations in risk governance of oil and gas activities in the Russian north
Author: Sidortsov, Roman V.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 8669
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is a socio-legal interdisciplinary study of risk governance in the oil and gas sector in the Russian North. Against a backdrop of the author's experience of training to be and working as a lawyer in both Siberia and the United States, it is based on four types of sources: (i) texts of relevant policies, laws, and administrative regulations; (ii) transcripts of official presidential meetings, addresses, and speeches on matters relevant to oil and gas development; (iii) observations obtained during fieldwork, including data from semistructured interviews; and (iv) energy statistics and results of various public polls. After a review of the basic characteristics and trends of the industry, highlighting the distinctive role hydrocarbons play in the Russian economy, society, and politics, the argument starts with theories of risk and risk governance in the context of the global energy sector. Moving on to rules of risk governance, the discussion homes in on how these rules actually work in the policy, legal, and regulatory regime of Russia. A subsequent chapter introduces the conceptual common denominator for analysing the dynamic between the principal parties in risk governance - the social concept of power. It includes a study of a trunk pipeline called (appropriately) the Power of Siberia, in which law emerges as a demarcation of sovereign power. The next chapter explains particular challenges of risk governance of the oil and gas sector through the concept of network power. The final chapter examines sovereign power structures responsible for governing risk posed by oil and gas activities, and the allocation of such risks and benefits, in Russia's 'Petrostate'. Throughout the thesis, the relevant Russian policy, legal, and regulatory regime, which serves as the case study, is closely interwoven with wider social theory. This study contributes to risk theory by proposing the Risk Governance Power Framework, an analytical framework for understanding power relations that shape risk governance of the oil and gas sector. The framework asserts that the following three factors play critical roles in influencing the power relations: (i) the strength of network power behind the hazardous activity; (ii) the capacity of the sovereign power structures and agents responsible for governing risks related to the activity to counter-balance the network power behind the hazardous activity; and (iii) the spatial and temporal allocation of individual and public risks and benefits. The network power of the oil and gas sector is premised on three dependences: technological, socio-economic, and political.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral