Offshore Law

Offshore installations rise in numbers and importance and promise high economic and scientific benefits, but they also increase risks of accidents and environmental damage. They offer profits, promise gains, and sometimes they bring about disasters.

The Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico has dramatically highlighted the gaps and weaknesses of the existing international legal framework concerning how to prevent, deal with and mitigate the consequences of similar environmental disasters. It has also poignantly illustrated the limits of the legal framework, which is fragmented along the lines of different geographical areas, different sectors of activities and, notably, different fields of law. 

Completed research project:

The International Law of Offshore Installations: Cutting Through Fragmented Regimes Towards Better Governance

The OFFSHORELAW Project aims at spelling out the normative framework for offshore installations. From the fragmented and dissected legal material that does exist, it will carve out an ‘international law of offshore installations’. No international treaty specifically regulates the issue as such. There is a plethora of instruments and of related bureaucracies, which deal with different aspects of installations’ life, and which elaborate regulations in complete isolation one from the other. The lack of communication among the different frameworks generates conflicts and incoherencies between institutions and norms.

The immediate gain from such a work is a contribution towards better ocean governance. Overall, the OFFSHORELAW Project strives to contribute to the preservation of the marine environment and the sustainable use of the oceans, while protecting the rights of the parties involved. More specifically and with a pragmatic twist, it then endeavours to provide useful legal tools to both private investors and policy makers.

Involved researcher:

This project was carried out in 2012-2014 by dr. Seline Trevisanut who received a Marie Curie grant to finance the research.