It’s the New Year, and if finding a niche in law is one of your many resolutions, then this is for you! Ever considered energy law?
Energy Law is concerned with creating, enforcing and challenging the laws that regulate the utilization of energy. Most scholars have termed it complex since it has a fair mix of politics, economics, geography, environmental science and engineering but it is an integral part of economy development and in recent times has led to the increase in legal training in energy law, we now have undergraduate law programmes, summer courses lawyers can take and also Masters courses in the field. Policies and Laws have also been enacted.

Energy is a property of matter and space, objects and fields. It is divided into sources known as Renewable sources and Non-renewable Sources.

Renewable sources are sources that can be naturally replenished but flow limited. This includes Bio mass (wood and wood waste, municipal solid waste, land fill gas and bio gas, ethanol, biodiesel), Hydro power, geothermal, wind, solar. Non renewable energy sources do not form or replenish in a short time (some may not be replenished in a lifetime or several lifetimes). The four major sources of renewable energy are Crude oil(petroleum), natural gas, coal, uranium(nuclear energy). Non-renewable energy sources come out of the ground as liquids, solids and gases. Crude oil is used to make liquid products like gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil.

All fossil fuels are non-renewable but not all non-renewable energy sources are fossil fuels. Coal, crude oil and natural gas are all considered fossil fuels because they were formed from the buried remains of plants and animals that years ago.

Uranium ore, solid, is mined and converted to a fuel used at nuclear power plants. Uranium is not a fossil fuel, but is classified as a non-renewable fuel.

Secondary sources of energy are made from other energy sources (the renewable sources and non-renewable sources), for example electricity.

In Nigeria, the focus has been on and oil and gas which makes up 70 percent of the economy but we have seen a shift in focus towards renewable energy.

Energy law is derived from three levels of law – international level (may take the form of treatise), national level (NNPC, NERC) and in some countries local level.

Energy lawyers help their clients fulfil their business goals and also have a chance to influence public policy and international relations. They may be found working in large law firms or as in-house counsel. Lawyers may also help their client with litigation as conflict may arise concerning compliance with laws and agreement relating to energy production and use. While other lawyers might struggle with trying to grow a client base, energy lawyers may have one recurring client for an entire year.

So if you love to take on responsibilities, make impact and still squeeze in travel, then energy law is right up your alley.
In the next episode, we’ll take a look at the legal framework of oil and gas and career opportunities in the sector.


www.springer.com (Energy Law: An Introduction)



Karen Okoro is a graduate of Benson Idahosa University and the Nigerian Law School. She is passionate about Energy Law, particularly the Oil and Gas sector. She is also interested in Commercial Law. Karen believes young and prospective lawyers who explore the energy space can be groundbreaking professionals in the field and can help create better policies. Karen enjoys writing and traveling.