Eltumi Partners’ associate Gofran Abaoub took part in a high-profile conference in London last week focused on energy arbitration and dispute resolution in the Middle East and Africa.

Gofran spoke as part of a panel discussing Energy Arbitration in North African States at the 7th Annual Conference in Energy Arbitration and Dispute Resolution organised by International Law Summits, which took place at the offices of Herbert Smith Freehills.

Her talk encompassed a brief overview of the development of arbitration in the Libyan energy sector, and emphasised the established role it plays as a dispute resolution mechanism, whether as part of the concession system which includes an arbitration clause in the model concession agreements granted to IOCs, or as part of the newer model Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements, which explicitly refer disputes to the ICC.

Libya is now moving away from the concession models that became prevalent in the 1950s, towards Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements (EPSAs).

ICC arbitrations are the preferred forum for energy arbitrations by Libyan energy stakeholders such as the NOC.

The country is not currently a signatory to the New York convention.

Gofran provided a summary of recent developments in Libyan arbitration law, which is based on the UNCITRAL model law, but which remains largely untested in the Libyan courts.

She summarised key developments brought about by the new arbitration law, which include:

1. A new streamlined procedure for the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.
2. The empowerment of Libyan arbitral tribunals to issue interim relief.
3. The introduction of a framework for the establishment and operation of arbitration centres in Libya.

Together these lay the groundwork for a more localised arbitration process in Libya; a trend which has already been observed in other North African states such as Egypt.

As a firm, Eltumi Partners is well versed in all forms of dispute resolution, including ICC arbitrations, across the EMEA region. We have represented clients before an extensive range of trial, appellate, regulatory and alternative disputes resolution tribunals.

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