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A Global Liability Regime for Offshore Petroleum Pollution Damage Resulting from Exploration and exploitation of the Sea Bed: Is It Viable? / Tabetha C. Kurtz Shefford

Swansea University Author: Tabetha C. Kurtz Shefford

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DOI (Published version): 10.23889/Suthesis.41141

Abstract

Since the 1970s, when the offshore oil industry was just venturing into deep waters, there has been discussion on the possibility of establishing a civil liability regime which would cover oil spill pollution damage specifically from offshore facilities. Almost a half a century and several devastati...

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Published: 2016
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa41141
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Abstract: Since the 1970s, when the offshore oil industry was just venturing into deep waters, there has been discussion on the possibility of establishing a civil liability regime which would cover oil spill pollution damage specifically from offshore facilities. Almost a half a century and several devastating offshore spills later, we are still no closer to making that civil liability regime a reality. The question is why.Civil liability is one of those curious areas of law in which there are waves of interest (usually reactionary) where much ado is made of the importance of establishing such a regime, but little seems to manifest concretely as a result. It could be possible that the it is the wrong political climate in which to bring about such an ambitious convention (although grander, wider and more difficult conventions have been ratified in the past), but considering the most recent incident, i.e. the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico – the worst in American history and the biggest offshore spill in the world, the question remains: what exactly would offer sufficient motivation to call for a global regime? It could be that there is no desire for one in the first place – past failures and recent meetings in the IMO Legal Committee would certainly lend themselves well to this theory, or it may be possible that there is political drive but the it is the substance of the regime itself which has stalled the engine.The aim of this thesis is to explore the current political and legal landscape of offshore civil liability in order to ascertain whether a global liability regime is desired by the international community. If that question is answered in the affirmative, then whether it is best suited as a global convention, or in some other format. To aid in answering this second question, case studies of various states have been carried out to see what lessons can be learned and transposed into the potential regime.
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College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law