"Quota Measures" and "Trade-Related Investment Measures" in Oil and Gas Regulation
: Reconciling Normative Conflicts between Energy-focused Regimes and WTO Rules on Energy

  • Ernest Enobun

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Regulation of border and behind-the-border measures in the oil and gas sectors presents the ‘resource access’ challenge with immense economic ramifications for export markets, yet their status under the multilateral trading regime remains obscure. Recent developments that could reshape the trading regime and market dynamics for oil and gas have seen the call for a global energy governance gain momentum in recent years. But the complex relationships between national laws, institutional norms, and the multilateral trading regime regulating energy presents an ideological ‘conflict in applicable law’. They reveal a conflict between regulatory privileges enshrined in energy resource-focused institutions namely: OPEC as a producer-only treaty, the ECT as a sector-specific multilateral energy treaty, national energy laws on the heel of the PSNR principle as a customary international law; versus international obligations under the GATT rules relevant to energy. These regimes have the trappings of nationalism, regionalism, and institutionalism in energy regulation, thereby creating an ambiguous path to global energy governance. This research revisits the institutional and regulatory architecture of oil and gas regimes from the perspective of quota measures and trade-related investment measures (TRIMs) implemented through the instrumentality of national laws, acts of NOCs (in the oil sector) and acts of non-state undertakings (in the gas sector). It therefore charts an uncommon territory and brings a new dimension to the discipline of energy and trade, with a robust examination of how regulation of quota measures and trade-related investment in the oil sector (with export restriction issues) differs from their regulation in the gas sector (with underlying competition issues) and how their varying trade effects shape their future in international economic law. Given the inherent conflicts between the legal, policy, and regulatory design of these regimes governing energy, this research first explores and applies the principle of conflict of norms to energy governance. This paves way for a hands-on approach to examining the applications of these measures under the auspices of these regimes aimed at a ‘co-operative energy governance’ between the resource-focused regimes and the GATT rules relevant to energy on the basis of their trade effects. I argue that an understanding of ‘quota measures’ and ‘TRIMs’ in the oil sector compared to their implementations in the gas sector is compelling in making a case for a systemic energy cooperation that would serve economic interests of all affected states without diminishing the normative value of each regime in each sector.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsThomas Wälde Memorial Fund
    SupervisorStephen Dow (Supervisor) & Melaku Desta (Supervisor)


    • Regulation
    • Quota measures
    • TRIM
    • Local Content Requirement
    • Trade effects
    • Oil industry
    • Gas transit
    • Gas market
    • Gas pipelines
    • WTO Law
    • OPEC
    • ECT
    • National treatment
    • Contract

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