New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Chapter 12: The Settlement of Investor–State Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa
* Ibironke Odumosu 1 INTRODUCTION African states are fertile ground for the continuous discovery of oil and gas. From the new discoveries in Ghana1 to Angola’s contention for the position of the biggest African oil producer,2 and the introduction of Chad and Sudan to oil production, Africa’s place in the international oil market continues to grow.3 Angola became a full member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2007, signalling its entry into the big leagues of oil production and exporting in Africa and OPEC circles.4 In spite of the move towards other sources of energy, oil and, invariably, the settlement of oil and gas disputes in Africa remain important due to several factors.5 First, although oil is being supplemented by other fuels, it will remain the largest fuel in the international energy market for some time. Second, the energy needs of states like China and India will continue to drive the demand for the resource. Third, members of OPEC will continue to assume significant positions in the international energy market because it is contended that non-OPEC oil production will peak in a decade.6 The settlement of disputes arising from investment in oil production will, therefore, involve African states and Western investors in the almost century-long dynamic that has prevailed. However, it will also incorporate large consumers like China and India. In Sudan, Chinese, Indian and other firms are active in oil exploration and production.7 In 2008, it was noted that ‘China currently derives 27 per cent of...