International Guest Speakers in the
Transnational Petroleum Law in Latin America Course
During the 2013 Spring Semester at the University of Houston Law Center, a number of special guests participated in the Transnational Petroleum Law in Latin America course, either through video conference or in person. In order to accomplish a thorough study on transnational law, the participation of international guests enriched the class materials with specialized industry information and opening the floor for stimulating discussion with the students.
The guest speaker topics encompassed particular issues in the course through the study of international investment law and the evolution of international investment arbitration during the last decade, with a specific focus on oil and gas investments in Latin America. The course was divided in two segments: an initial introduction to transnational law and international law, and a second segment that focused on the analysis of seven jurisdictions of oil and gas producing countries in Latin America, addressing the transnational legal issues related to petroleum transactions in these countries. Some examples of the transnational topics covered included the protection of foreign investments, as well as environmental and human rights issues.
The class had the opportunity to video conference with Engineer Caroline Morais and Attorney Luciana Braga from the Brazilian Petroleum Agency (ANP), and Dr. Juan Aguiar, Legal Counsel of the Secretary of Hydrocarbons of Ecuador. The class was also fortunate to have UH Alumni (LLM '07) Fernando Cano from ITS—the Pemex subsidiary in the U.S. This group of speakers contributed with presentations on the particularities of oil & gas regulation in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.
During the core of the course dedicated to international arbitration and transnational law, the class exchanged ideas with Dr. Alfredo De Jesús, from the Transnational Petroleum Law Institute, on theory of international arbitration and transnational law. In order to get a well-rounded perspective, Historian Medievalist and Doctoral Fellow Armando Torres from the University of Bourgogne, France, presented a talk on the history of arbitration.
The course was culturally diverse, with students from Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Canada and the U.S. Additionally it had the attendance of Prof. Yanbing Wang, Research Fellow from the University of Shanghai, China, and Research student Shara Beltrán from the University of Monterrey / Puebla, Mexico. Among the group were also LLM students currently working at companies such as British Petroleum, Halliburton, Duke Energy and CITGO, among others.
Finally, the course was delighted to know that one of the papers presented during the semester by JD Candidate John Riggs, entitled "Investment Protection in Colombia: Can Investors Rely on the Full Protection and Security Clause?" was one of the two winners of the 2013 AIPN Student Writing Competition.
The course is scheduled also to be taught in the Spring Semester 2014.