Martin (left) and Hussain (centre) giving details of the event

Martin (left) and Hussain (centre) giving details of the event

Forum to tackle oil and gas rows

01 July 2013

A CONFERENCE being held in Bahrain in November to discuss ways to settle disputes in the oil and gas industry will be the first of its kind to be staged in the Middle East and North Africa region, organisers said.

The International Oil and Gas (O&G) Dispute Resolution Conference has also won the patronage of the Prime Minister of Bahrain, HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. It takes place from November 17 to 19 and is jointly organised by the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution-American Arbitration Association (BCDR-AAA), and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN).

While the conference will focus on emerging issues in oil and gas disputes globally, it will place particular emphasis on issues specific to the Mena region and to the Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria.

The event is expected to attract more than 450 delegates and 30 leading industry experts, arbitrators and counsel from international energy organisations, governments and law firms to discuss a broad spectrum of legal and commercial issues relating to disputes in the sector. Topics will include boundary disputes, state investment, infrastructure and commercial disputes, along with the impact of Sharia Law in Middle East energy disputes.

Disputes over energy rights can be

The announcement of the event’s patron was made at a press conference held at the BCDR premises in the presence of Ahmed Hussain, BCDR-AAA’s chief registrar and assistant CEO for arbitration who is also the co-chairman of the conference, and Tim Martin, conference co-chairman and the former president of AIPN.

Hussain said the Prime Minister’s patronage underscored the significance of the forum for the sector globally and regionally. “Energy revenues remain the major economic contributor to GDP and development. Importantly, it also demonstrates the Kingdom of Bahrain’s commitment at the highest of levels for continuing to develop its capabilities and position as a leading regional centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), building on its strategic location in the heart of the Gulf region as well as its strong and well-regarded commercial, legal and regulatory framework.”

Martin commented that the need for effective dispute resolution is becoming increasingly important given the continued expansion of the oil and gas sector including petrochemical and downstream industries in the counties of the Middle East and Africa. “Growth, however, has seen an increase in concession agreements and commercial contracts in use and, in turn, a rise in the number of disputes, which can be solved in more efficient, timely and cost-effective ways through the use of alternative dispute resolution methods. This year’s conference will focus on new and existing solutions for the oil and gas industry and their application both on a global and regional basis,” he observed.

AIPN is acknowledged as a leading professional organisation of commercial negotiators and energy lawyers in the international petroleum industry. It develops petroleum model contracts that are widely used throughout the industry, and provides educational seminars and conferences around the world.

“BCDR-AAA is a one-stop-shop for ADR and is a major pillar to Bahrain’s status as a world-class business and investment environment. Since its launch on January 2010, the chamber has provided international, regional and domestic commercial and governmental users contracting in the Gulf and beyond, with a purpose-built solution for the rapid, effective and certain resolution of commercial disputes,” said a statement from the organisers.

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