Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Kim Talus
Chapter 12: The international legal instruments for cross-border pipelines
The legal framework for cross-border pipelines is rather complex. The pipelines are unique in their own way and are considered as a separate entity. As a result there is no single regulation or legal means controlling their operation. There are two types of cross-border pipeline arrangements. One is the domestic pipeline model, which is governed by the national laws of a country through which the pipeline is passing. Since such pipelines can pass through different countries, such a pipeline chain can have several operators or owners at the same time. Further 'the regulation of transnational pipeline issues is based on contracts between owners or operators of national sections, or by agreements with respective governments'. Although a sound legal framework in respect to pipelines can help lower disputes between various contractual parties within the transnational pipeline chain, 'the most durable would be bilateral and multilateral treaties that provide the legal foundation on which commercial agreements relating to cross-border pipelines would be based'. The second cross-border pipeline model is the international model, where the entire pipeline chain is considered as a single integrated entity. Such pipelines tend to have a legal regime through the signing of various intergovernmental agreements and commercial contracts between the parties involved in the pipeline project.
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