The Impact of Choice-of-Law Rules in Cross-Border Pollution Damage Caused by Petroleum Spills from Offshore Rigs and Installations: The Case of the Barents Sea

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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The article examines the impact of choice-of-law rules in cross-border pollution damage caused by petroleum spills from offshore rigs and installations in the Barents Sea. Norway and Russia share the Barents Sea, and the ocean currents go from West to East. Therefore, the article examines the impact of an oil spill from a Norwegian licensee on the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea on a Russian party harmed by the spill on the Russian side of the Barents Sea. The article shows the procedural hurdles a Russian harmed party would need to jump in order to access Norwegian courts. The question of venue is clear. Lex loci damni is the principle enacted in the Norwegian Petroleum Act. It contains a unilateral extension of protection in delict law to Norwegian interests harmed in Russia, which is not extended to injured Russian parties harmed within the Russian jurisdiction, for situations where the source of harm is located on the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea. An injured Russian party forced to pursue a legal claim against a Norwegian licensee without assets in Russia may receive no compensation because no agreement exists between Norway and Russia regarding recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments.

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