International commercial arbitration, especially in energy contracts, is considered the safe and proper approach to protecting international trade, as well as the quickest way to resolving disputes, said Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) board member for International Relations Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani.
Sheikh Thani said there was growth in arbitration cases relating to the energy sector in recent years, citing the latest statistics of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, which showed that about 170 registered new cases were filed with the court last year, most of which are related to energy contracts.
“Energy disputes represented about 25% of the cases filed before international arbitration centres in 2020, such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and others,” Sheikh Thani said on the third day’s opening session of ‘Turkey Arbitration Week’ held virtually Wednesday.
Addressing a session titled ‘The Development of Arbitration in Energy Contracts’, Sheikh Thani underscored trade’s important role not only on the economic level but also in bringing peoples and cultures closer.
Sheikh Thani said commercial arbitration is one of the most important means to overcoming difficulties in investment, especially in energy contracts because energy “is of paramount importance” to other sectors, such as industry and agriculture, among others.
“Energy projects are usually long, complex, and require a substantial level of capital. Additionally, the sector has significant exposure to geological events, political changes, and environmental regulations.
“For these reasons, disputes are common in the energy sector, and arbitration has become the preferred method of resolving these disputes, particularly at the international level,” he noted.
Lawyer Sultan al-Abdulla, a member of QICCA’s panel of arbitrators, spoke on developments in arbitration rules in the past two years since the Covid-19 pandemic. He said arbitration centres “positively responded” to pandemic-related circumstances and amended their rules to keep pace, such as the British Arbitration Committee, the ICC, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the Singapore Arbitration Centre, and the International Association of Lawyers.
Al-Abdulla said, “There is a continuous interest to develop arbitration rules with the aim of making arbitration easier and more positive, and this is the secret of the arbitration's success, as the arbitrators deal with clear rules that have been continuously developed.”