Energy law for decommissioning in the energy sector in the 21st century

Raphael J. Heffron (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
393 Downloads (Pure)


Legal issues around the decommissioning of energy infrastructure have received limited attention by the energy law research community to-date. This short article and special issue focus on decommissioning. Within the special issue there is a focus on decommissioning for oil, gas, nuclear energy and coal infrastructure. This article introduces the topic of decommissioning in the energy sector. It covers the scope of the law for decommissioning and also aligns it with the seven principles of energy law. It also highlights future areas for research and in particular around distributive justice and the role of ethics. At the heart of the legal challenges for decommissioning energy infrastructure lies the important question of who should pay the cost and when. These questions need to be addressed and answered at the outset of a project and not at the end. Finally, the article highlights how decommissioning activity requires an element of interdisciplinary thinking, and lawyers working in this area will have to engage with other disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of World Energy Law & Business
Issue number3
Early online date24 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • decommissioning
  • energy transition
  • distributive justic
  • restorative justice
  • just transition


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