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Mediating Energy Resources Development and Environmental Concerns:

An Initial Step Towards the Energy Transition

Benjamin Boumakani, Aubin Nzaou-Kongo


This article examines two overreaching dimensions that represent the initial step towards the energy transition in the context of oil and gas development. It is agreed that the problems facing the climate system are caused by human activity, and oil and gas production plays a particular role. Therefore, it appears important to consider the dimension related to the integration of environmental standards as the initial step of the ecological transition from the production of energy from fossil-fuel sources. This study is then based on the development of legislation in sub-Saharan African countries, which illustrate perfectly how new constraints are imposed on an activity that was originally a profit-driven activity and is now moving towards greater environmental preservation. In this sense, the first part of our article focuses on the common ground of environmental protection standards in oil and gas production. This is what we call the environmental protection standards in oil and gas production. The second part of the article analyses the reconciliation of soft law standards, which are of legal significance or the power of hard law through the legislative process, and on the liability for environmental harm in the various legislations.

Benjamin Boumakani, Professor of Law, former Associate-Dean of the School of Law at the University of Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), and Aubin Nzaou-Kongo, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Houston Law Center (United States), Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Lyon 3 School of Law, and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University Savoie Mont-Blanc School of Law (France). For correspondence: <>.Disclosure: This article is written as part of research conducted by a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 845118. We are also grateful to the publisher Larcier Intersentia for the permission to publish a stretched version of this article, which first appeared in the Mélanges en l’honneur de Stéphane Doumbé-Billé published in January 2020, under the following title: Les nouveaux aspects de la protection de l’environnement dans les codes des hydrocarbures des pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, in Droit, Humanite et Environnement: Melanges en l’honneur de Stephane Doumbe-Bille 569 (A. Mekouar & M. Prieur, eds. Larcier 2020).


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