Regulation of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation under international law
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This chapter is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the overarching legal framework applicable to offshore exploration and exploitation for hydrocarbons. It reviews States' rights and obligation with respect to offshore exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources a provided for in the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (LOSC) and in general rules of international law and discusses the failure of the international community to agree on global rules for offshore hydrocarbon activities and its consequences. The second section identifies and discusses international treaties that apply to specific issues which may arise out of or in the context of offshore exploration and exploitation for hydrocarbon resources. The third section discusses the remaining legal gaps with respect to the control of pollution of the marine environment from offshore hydrocargon activties. Finally, although this chapter does not discuss and compare in depth regional agreements entered into for offshore hydrocarbon activities taking place in some regional seas, it mentions several examples of such agreements where they fill the gaps left by international law.