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October 12, 2009

Law student John Chen awarded a Gordon Barrows scholarship from the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators

Photo of John Chen

John Chen, '10, recipient of the Gordon Barrows scholarship from the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators

John Chen, a third-year law student at the University of Texas School of Law, was recently awarded an inaugural $5,000 scholarship from the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). The AIPN awards scholarships to students who display a potential to contribute to the field of international oil and gas negotiations.  

“John Chen has been a student in my classes in property, professional responsibility, and in oil and gas law,” said UT Law Professor John S. Dzienkowski, who sponsored Chen for this award. “I also supervised a directed research project for John on the difficult topic of carbon sequestration as a means of addressing carbon emissions in the environment.” A specialist in oil and gas taxation and international energy transactions, Dzienkowski is on the faculty of the Law School’s recently launched Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law.

“John wrote an excellent note that addressed the scientific issues of carbon sequestration, its legal and economic challenges, and advanced an excellent proposal for how to reconcile many of the unanswered questions. John Chen is an excellent student whose interests in oil, gas, and energy law make him a natural candidate for the AIPN scholarship,” said Dzienkowski, who also holds the Dean John F. Sutton, Jr. Chair in Lawyering and the Legal Process.

A native of California, Chen received two degrees from Stanford University, including a Bachelor of Science in management science and engineering, and a Master of Science in Earth systems, which incorporated a self-designed interdisciplinary program focused on the scientific and technical aspects of the energy industry. In 2005, Chen also worked at Chevron as a business and strategy intern in the Energy Solutions division, focusing on renewable energy projects. “I chose to attend UT Law School in part because of the institution’s reputation as a leader in oil and gas law and policy,” said Chen. “As a student at UT Law School, I have been greatly impressed by the unparalleled opportunities to interact with top faculty in the field of energy law as well as the school’s deep connections to leaders in the energy industry.”

Chen is a member of the Texas Law Review. As a research assistant for Dzienkowski since June 2008, Chen conducts research for a book on legal developments in international energy markets. He also served as staff editor of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law in the spring of 2008, and director of programming for Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity in 2008–2009. Last summer, Chen was a summer associate in New York at Davis Polk. “As a career, I am interested in the intersection of law, business, and public policy,” said Chen. “I believe the rapidly evolving energy industry offers an opportunity to draw from my study of law, finance, and engineering in order to best advise clients.”

The AIPN Scholarship Committee named four full scholarship recipients and one partial scholarship recipient for the association’s 2009–2010 program. The committee considers the following criteria when selecting recipients: potential to impact the international negotiation field, academic ability, leadership, year in school, and financial need. Recipients comprise both male and female students working in multiple disciplines, including law, energy management, and petroleum engineering. 

This is the inaugural effort of an annual program to award scholarships in the name of AIPN founder and director Gordon Barrows, who is also chairman emeritus and cofounder of World GTL, Inc. Barrows is also the founder and president of the Barrows Company and a world-renowned expert on petroleum policy and legislation. Barrows is an advisor to the United Nations, the World Bank, and numerous foreign governments on petroleum legislation and related matters. 

Each $5,000 cash award is made directly to the recipient’s university to offset tuition. This is AIPN’s first year to give these awards, but the association has a long history of supporting the Law School’s students.   

“I appreciate the AIPN’s support of education of students who are interested in oil, gas, and energy,” Dzienkowski said. “The organization has been instrumental in providing discounted membership to UT students and for funding trips to AIPN meetings in Houston and New York.” 

UT Law has long been an academic center for the study of oil and gas law. “We have always attracted outstanding students interested in studying the subject and our graduates practice in the field throughout the world,” Dzienkowski said. “With our existing faculty and with students such as John Chen, it is natural for UT to formally launch its Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law.”

Launched this fall, 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. The University of Texas School of Law created the Center 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. 

The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law was featured in the winter 2008 issue of UT Law magazine. The Association of International Petroleum Negotiators is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to enhance the professionalism of cross-border energy negotiators throughout the world. AIPN comprises approximately 2,200 members in seventy-nine countries, representing numerous international oil and gas companies, host governments, law firms, and academic institutions. Members come from many different disciplines (commercial, technical, academic, and legal) and represent many different international and government oil, gas and energy companies, as well as national and multilateral governmental authorities.


Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

Professor John Dzienkowski, UT School of Law, 512-232-1367,