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Research Handbook on International Energy Law

Research Handbook on International Energy Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Kim Talus

International energy law is an elusive but important concept. There is no body of law called ‘international energy law’, nor is there any universally accepted definition for it, yet many specialised areas of international law have a direct relationship with energy policy. The Research Handbook on International Energy Law examines various aspects of international energy law and offers a comprehensive account of its basic concepts and processes.

Chapter 22: International energy law, institutions and geopolitics

Andrei V. Belyi

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, environmental law, transport, law - academic, energy law, environmental law, human rights, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, urban and regional studies, transport


A number of scholars have addressed the issue of energy geopolitics by attempting to emphasize the importance of energy in international relations. At the same time, it remains difficult to argue that energy interests are always the impacting factors in energy geopolitics. In some cases, energy is used as a political tool for other strategic objectives. Moreover, States can also pursue policies which do not especially reflect interests of its energy industries. A view defended in this chapter consists of the argument that energy geopolitics depend on the norms and practices of States. For example, energy geopolitics would be significant in the former Soviet Union and almost inexistent in Western Europe. In other words, norms and practices in inter-state relations also shape energy relations. In turn, inter-State practices can either reinforce or weaken international energy law depending on the general political context. On these grounds, the present chapter assesses existing energy interrelations between States in light of the development of international norms, practices and law, which are together defined as institutions. Indeed, a number of scholars have outlined evolving formal and informal norms and practices, and which may form a ground for an institutionalization of inter-State relations which constitute a basis for international law.

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