About the Energy Center

The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law promotes and sponsors education, collaborative research, critical discussion, policy analyses, and hands-on clinical experience to address the most pressing energy and natural-resource issues of our time.

It is evident that the fortunes of the world’s human population, for better or for worse, are inextricably interrelated with the use that is made of energy resources.
—M. King Hubbert

Trade, commerce, and investment in oil, gas, and other energy resources play a critical role in the global economy and exert a significant impact on every nation’s domestic and foreign policy. Energy has become a national-security issue in the United States and the goal of sustainable energy independence is a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s agenda. The development of energy resources sometimes leads to conflicts. Conflicts arise between investors and the national governments of the countries where the resources are located, and between the commercial players in the global energy industry. In addition, the environmental impacts associated with energy development make many proposals controversial.

Global demand for energy resources is at historically high levels, so exploration and development of fossil fuels and renewable sources such as wind and solar is expanding rapidly. The development of energy resources comes with environmental costs. Emissions of greenhouse gases associated with burning fossil fuels continue to rise. Many oil and gas fields are located in environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands, forests, and coastlines. And the development of new solar and wind facilities and transmission capacity may affect rare ecosystems across the country.

The challenges created by the intersection of private and public international law related to the law of energy and the environment bring the need to address the conflicts that arise. Some oil, gas, energy, and infrastructure projects are located in countries with significant political and commercial risk. It is critical for public and private actors to anticipate conflict and adopt dispute resolution mechanisms to address disputes in a timely and efficient manner.

The University of Texas School of Law has created the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law to give students the opportunity to study in depth the law, policy, and commercial realities related to the production of energy, protection of natural resources, and the use of international arbitration to resolve commercial disputes. In addition to offering a robust course curriculum, the Center sponsors interdisciplinary research and policy analyses and provides a forum for lawyers, scientists, economists, policy makers, and stakeholders to explore solutions to the nation’s and the world’s energy and environmental problems. The Center explores the myriad of issues associated with energy and the environment, and the use of international arbitration to resolve disputes.