5th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration

Houston, Texas, • English

The ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC) is co-organizing along with the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) and the Institute for Energy Law (IEL) of the Centre for American and International Law the 5th edition of their joint conference on international arbitration in the energy sector, being held on 18-19 January 2018. Procedural issues such as arbitrator selection and emergency arbitrators will be explored, and the new era of disputes in the Mexican energy industry examined.


ICC, ITA, and IEL join again this year to bring speakers from around the globe and across the industry to focus on the key issues in this practice – from a keynote address on the role of geopolitics in the genesis of disputes in the sector, through the uncertainty of cross-border resource development involving undelimited maritime boundaries to the increasing sophistication of “resource nationalism” in emerging markets.  The program includes three ever-popular features: the Corporate Counsel Roundtable, tackling practical topics such as the challenging nature of the ‘bargain’ with host governments in a low-price environment; luncheon interview with David R. Haigh, Q.C., one of the deans of the practice, and all you need to know about last year’s energy disputes: the Year in Review.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Houston International Arbitration Club, Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Dundee Centre for Energy, Petroleum & Mineral Law & Policy.

The programme will be led by co-chairs Mimi M. Lee (Chevron Upstream), Sylvia Noury (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP) and James L. Loftis (Vinson & Elkins LLP).

Who should attend?

Arbitrators, legal practitioners, in-house counsel, and academics who would like to learn more about developments in international energy arbitration.


                                           Thursday, 18 January 2018
2:30 – 3:00 pmRegistration
3:00 – 3:10 pmWelcome Remarks

·         Abby Cohen Smutny, ITA Chair, White & Case LLP, Washington, DC

·         Alexis Mourre, President, ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris

·         Lawrence P. Simon, Jr., IEL Chair, Liskow & Lewis, Lafayette, Louisiana

3:10 – 3:15 pmWelcome to the Young Lawyers Roundtable

Presented by ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), IEL Young Energy Professionals (YEP) and Young ITA

Roundtable Co-Chairs:

·         Silvia Marchili, Young ITA Chair and Regional Chair, ICC YAF North America Chapter, King & Spalding LLP, Houston

·         Soledad G. O’Donnell, IEL YEP Representative, Mayer Brown, Houston

3:15 – 4:10 pmYoung Lawyers Roundtable: Mexican Energy Disputes – A New Era

As a result of the Mexican Energy Reform, US and Canadian companies are active participants in the Mexican energy market.  At the same time, the Governments of the US, Canada, and Mexico are renegotiating NAFTA, creating a heightened degree of uncertainty for companies that operate in Mexico.  This panel will discuss the risks and challenges that companies with energy interests in Mexico are currently facing, as well as potential mitigation strategies.

·         Moderator: Silvia Marchili, Roundtable Co-Chair


·         Prof. Julián de Cárdenas Garcia, University of Houston Law Center, Houston

·         Cecilia Ibarravan Oostenrijk, North America Regional Compliance Counsel, TechnipFMC, Houston

·         Gabriel Salinas, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Avant Energy, Houston


4:10 – 5:00 pmArbitrator Selection

One of the perceived advantages of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism is the ability for the parties to choose the decision makers.  In turn, selecting the arbitrators is probably one of the most critical decisions when designing your case strategy.  This panel will explore the different factors that practitioners and clients should bear in mind when choosing the arbitrators, as well as some of the tools available to obtain critical information regarding potential candidates.  The panel will also explore ethical duties that the parties and the arbitrators should observe.

·         Moderator: Soledad G. O’Donnell, Roundtable Co-Chair


·         José Ricardo Feris, Squire Patton Boggs, Paris

·         Robert Landicho, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Houston

·         Elizabeth McKee Devaney, Assistant General Counsel, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Houston

·         Prof. Victoria Shannon Sahani, Associate Professor of Law, Arizona State University, Phoenix

5:00 – 6:30 pmWelcome Reception
7:00 – 9:00 pm Joint Conference Dinner
Friday, 19 January 2018
8:00 – 9:00 amRegistration and Breakfast
9:00 – 9:05 amWelcome Back Remarks
9:05 – 9:40 amKeynote Presentation: Global Energy Markets – US Foreign Policy Perspectives

This presentation will address the changing global energy landscape, the US Administration’s priorities in the sector, and the role of the US Department of State and the Bureau of Energy Resources

·         Richard Westerdale, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Energy Resources , U.S. Department of State, Washington DC

·         Moderator: Abby Cohen Smutny, White & Case LLP, Washington, DC

9:40 – 10:40 amBoundary Disputes in the Oil and Gas Sector

This panel will address current boundary disputes  with significant energy implications, the state of public international law and treaty developments on cross-border resource development in disputed areas as well as boundary risk mitigation strategies.  In addition,  will feature an insider’s view on the recent ITLOS decision in Ghana v. Cote d’Ivoire.

·         Moderator: Jim Loftis, Conference Co-Chair


·         Clara Brillembourg, Foley & Hoag LLP, Washington, DC

·         Professor Dan Sarooshi, Essex Court Chambers, London

10:40 – 11:00 amCoffee Break
11:00 am – 12:00 pmResource Nationalism in Emerging Markets

This panel will address the prevailing trends in so-called “resource nationalism” in emerging markets, focusing on Latin America and Africa. Are we moving beyond outright expropriations? What are the more sophisticated ways in which governments are seeking to maximise their returns from their natural resources? How have investors reacted to such policies? How can the right balance be struck in this critical sector between legitimate sovereign policies seeking to protect the public interest and the legitimate expectations of investors?

·         Moderator: Sylvia Noury, Conference Co-Chair


·         R. Doak Bishop, King & Spalding LLP, Houston

·         Juan Carlos Boué, Senior Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and former Special Advisor to the Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Oxford

·         Kate Brown de Vejar, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, Mexico City

·         E. Ned Mojuetan, General Counsel, Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company, Houston

12:00 – 2:00 pmLuncheon:

A Conversation with

·         David R. Haigh, Q.C., Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer LLP, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Interviewed by

·         Prof. Margaret L. Moses, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago

This interview is the latest in a series organized by the ITA Academic Council to record the evolution of modern international arbitration in the words of those who have led it.

2:00 – 2:40 pm2017 Year in Review: The Top 10 Developments in International Energy Arbitration

This presentation will consider both investor-state and contractual disputes in the energy sector. It will cast an eye over the wide range of matters that have come before arbitral tribunals in 2017, and will attempt to identify the ten special rulings and industry trends that will have the most important influence on energy arbitration in 2018 and beyond.

·         Laurence Shore, BonelliErede, Milan

2:40 – 3:00 pmCoffee Break
3:00 – 3:50 pmCorporate Counsel Roundtable:  Energy Disputes From the Client Perspective

Corporate counsel will discuss and share their views with regard to the importance of international arbitration for their internal clients/companies including the importance of selection of legal seat, the impact of selection of governing law and arbitral institution and rules, the importance of treaty protection and the challenging nature of the ‘bargain’ with host governments in a low-price environment.

·         Moderator: Mimi Lee, Conference Co-Chair


·         Kimberly R. Phillips, Associate General Counsel, Global Litigation – Americas, Shell Oil Company, Houston

·         Laura M. Robertson, Deputy General Counsel, Litigation and Arbitration, ConocoPhillips Company, Houston

·         Tomasz J. Sikora, Counsel, International Disputes, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Houston

·         Carter L. Williams, Lead Counsel, LEG DPUSA, Statoil Gulf Services LLC, Houston

3:50 – 5:00 pmEmergency Arbitrators and Emergency Arbitration

Recent reforms in institutional arbitration rules have the potential to make emergency and interim relief a further and powerful benefit of arbitration, and may be particularly welcome in international energy disputes.  However, realizing this benefit in practice requires careful preparation and persistent cooperation among drafters, counsel, arbitrators and institutions.  This panel will look at the necessary contributions and potential obstacles faced by each of these participants in the process, with an emphasis on energy arbitrations.

·         Moderator: James M. Gaitis, International Arbitration Chambers, Whitefish, Montana


·         Mark Levy, Allen & Overy LLP, London

·         Alexis Mourre, President, ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris

·         Ann Ryan Robertson, Locke Lord, Houston

5:00 pmClosing remarks
5:10 – 6:30 pmYoung Lawyers Reception

Logistical notes



Hilton Houston Post Oak

2001 Post Oak Blvd.

Houston, TX 77056

Please note that there will be a welcome reception on Thursday, 18 January at 5:00 pm, directly following the Young Lawyers Roundtable.

The Joint Conference Dinner, optional for all registrants, faculty and sponsors, will take place on Thursday, 18 January at 7:00 pm at Maggiano’s Little Italy located at 2019 Post Oak Blvd. Please indicate on the registration form if you wish to attend. Ticket price – $90 per person.

The Young Lawyers Networking Reception, for the members of Young ITA, the IEL Young Energy Professionals, the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum and other lawyers interested in international energy arbitration, will be held on Friday, 19 January at 5:10 pm.


Please click here to register.

Sponsorship opportunities

This conference offers you an unrivalled opportunity to maximize your visibility among key players in North America involved in dispute resolution in the energy sector.

For more information, visit the Sponsorship Opportunities page or contact ICC Sponsorship Manager, Sandra Sanchez Nery.

Contact us

  • J. Mehr, Kaur
  • 616-699-5702
  • Promotion Officer
Share This