Exploration of Energy Recourses in the Deep Seabed: Opportunities for Industry, Challenges for Law

Marianthi Pappa

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The Continental Shelf is not the only part of the ocean where energy resources lie. The seabed extending beyond coastal states’ jurisdiction is also rich in hydrocarbons, methane hydrates, and marine genetic resources which can be used to cover the world’s increasing energy needs. In contrast to the resources situated in the Continental Shelf, which are governed by the pertaining states’ laws and regulations, the resources of the deep seabed are subject to international law. But although international law of the sea governs the parts of the ocean which fall beyond national jurisdiction, it fails to determine the legal status of the energy resources of the deep seabed and the exact conditions under which these resources can be searched for and successfully exploited. Unless a new legal framework is introduced by the international community, the utilisation of the deep seabed for energy purposes may remain wishful thinking. By addressing the above lacuna in law, the study seeks to shed light on a relatively unexplored, yet important, legal issue which concerns: states looking for additional energy resources in the ocean, private investors seeking to reach new frontiers, and policy makers burdened with regulatory duties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Energy Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Available on Westlaw UK.


  • energy policy
  • International law
  • offshore exploration
  • oil and gas industry
  • seabed resources


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