Topic 1, Sub-Topic 1
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General Legal Principles Applicable to Cross-Border Pipelines

General Legal Principles Applicable to Cross-Border Pipelines

A. The Freedom to Lay Submarine Pipelines 

  • There are different types of submarine pipelines, whose legal regimes vary depending on their function and, in particular, their location. 
  1. The Geneva Conventions on the Law of the Sea
  2. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

B. The Freedom of Transit

  • There are certain general legal rules that evolved over time, mostly as part of the international lex mercatoria, but also applicable to cross-border energy infrastructures. 
  • The 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations for the first time introduced two main principles with relevance to our subject matter the principles of ‘freedom of transit’ and ‘equal treatment’ 
  • Article 23 was aimed at securing and maintaining the “freedom of communications and of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of all Members of the League.” 
  • The import of the right of free transit was further reiterated in the Barcelona Convention and Statute on Freedom of Transit (Barcelona Convention), which endorsed the rule of ‘non-discrimination’ and ‘reasonable transit tariffs’ and the parties’ obligation to facilitate transit.