IPBA 2021

Challenges in Energy Disputes: Perspectives and Experiences drawing on a Mock Scenario

Organised by: Dispute Resolution & Arbitration Committee, Energy & Natural Resources Committee

Session abstract:

Disputes in the energy sector are often complex, high value and involve international players, including state interests. Disputes can arise out of many different types of relationships in an energy project. The energy sector spans a wide range including oil and gas, geothermal, conventional power, hydropower, solar, and wind. Many of the issues and challenges encountered are common across this range. Issues may arise out of the Power Purchase Agreement, the Long Term Supply Agreement, the EPC contract, the financing agreements, and the many other ancillary agreements.

This session will look into key issues and challenges in energy sector disputes. Through the lens of a mock scenario of a power project in a Southeast Asian country this session will canvass appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms and clauses for long term complex energy projects involving multiple parties and contracts – including umbrella dispute resolution clauses and other mechanisms to manage multiple, complex, inter-related disputes. The session will also look into how different constituents in the long-term project perceive, and manage and handle disputes, in such long-term complex projects i.e. the in house counsel, external counsel, experts and arbitrators.


Steven Y.H Lim
Arbitrator and Barrister
39 Essex Chambers

Steven is an arbitrator and barrister. He has over 75 appointments in international cases as presiding, sole, co-arbitrator and emergency arbitrator seated in Singapore, South Korea, India, England and the US. He is on the SIAC, HKIAC, ICDR, KCAB, JCAA, CAAI, AIAC, THAC, HIAC, Qingdao Arbitration Commission and IDRC (India) panels and has sat in ICC, SCMA, LMAA, UNCITRAL Rules and ad hoc cases. Steven also appears as lead counsel in international arbitrations. He is a member of the English and Singapore bars.

Steven has extensive experience with disputes involving Asia-Pacific jurisdictions including Singapore, India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Nepal, US and Australia.

He has been noted in legal directories as “an excellent arbitrator who is very balanced”, “he has a thorough and thoughtful approach to cases”, “a respected arbitrator with extensive experience handling commercial arbitrations”, “is respected for his incisive mind”, “peers point out his sharp intellect” and “an excellent counsel with excellent understanding of law and great commercial insight”.

Peter Chow
King & Spalding

Peter Chow is a Partner at King & Spalding.  He focuses on international disputes related to energy and resources, oil and gas, and construction projects. He is also the Global Head of the firm’s Greater China dispute practice. Peter has acted as counsel in numerous complex arbitration cases, including some of the largest arbitrations in Asia involving multibillion-dollar claims.

Peter is a Chartered Arbitrator and is on the panel of arbitrators of various leading arbitration bodies.

Peter has been recognized as a world-leading practitioner by Euromoney Guide.  He was shortlisted for “Arbitration Practitioner of the Year” at the Asialaw Asia-Pacific DR Awards and has been named by China Business Law Journal in its “A-List”.  Legal directories and peers have described Peter as being “experienced and personable,” a “very sharp lawyer,” “very well prepared,” with “impressive energy and infrastructure sector credentials,” “tremendous expertise in construction arbitration,” and that he “often represents clients in the oil and gas and construction sectors.” He is a member of his firm’s International Arbitration practice which is ranked No. 1 in the world by Global Arbitration Review.

Peter is a vice-chair of the IPBA International Construction Projects Committee and former chair of its Energy & Resources Committee, a member to the ICC Commission on Arbitration and sat on the ICC Arbitrator Nomination Committee.

He is a contributing author of several arbitration textbooks (Sweet & Maxwell).


Jeonghye Sophie Ahn
Yulchon LLC

Jeonghye Sophie Ahn is a Partner at Yulchon LLC and a member of the firm’s International Dispute Resolution Team.

Sophie focuses on international dispute and has acted as counsel and an arbitrator in international arbitrations under the SIAC, ICC, KCAB and UNCITRAL Rules arising from a diverse range of commercial and corporate transactions including joint venture, intellectual property, media & telecommunication and construction.  She also specializes in arbitration related proceedings in court and has represented both foreign and domestic corporations in seeking or resisting enforcement of awards, interim measures and injunctions.  She has published on international arbitration and participated in amendment of the International Arbitration Rules of the KCAB.

Sophie received her LLB and LLM from Seoul National University and also holds an LLM from Harvard Law School.

Lam Ko Luen
Shook Lin & Bok
Kuala Lumpar

Ko Luen is a Partner of the firm of Shook Lin & Bok, Kuala Lumpur where he heads, amongst others, the International & Domestic Arbitration department. He was the President of The Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators (MIArb) from June 2013 to June 2015.

Ko Luen has been in practice for over 23 years and he appears as counsel in court, arbitration and adjudication hearings and also sits as an arbitrator and adjudicator. He is currently listed in the panel of arbitrators of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC), MIArb, the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (also known as Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration) (SCIA), Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) (International Arbitrators) and the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC). He is also listed in the panel of adjudicators of AIAC.

Ko Luen is involved in some of the major cases involving international commercial arbitration, in particular where the designated seat of arbitration is Kuala Lumpur. Many of these cases are reported in the legal journals. Ko Luen is also one of the contributors to the textbook “The Developing World of Arbitration – A Comparative Study of Arbitration Reform in the Asia Pacific” [2018] edited by Anselmo Reyes and Weixia Gu where he wrote on the “Arbitration Reform in Malaysia: Adopting the Model Law”.

Ko Luen has also gained recognition in the field in various publications including Chambers & Partners Asia, The Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, Asialaw Profiles and IFLR1000.

Weina Ye
Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei

Weina is an international partner with Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei Joint Operation Office.

She has extensive experience in advising Chinese and multinational clients on the resolution and avoidance of complex and high value cross-border commercial disputes, with over a decade of experience working in London, Hong Kong and mainland China. She also regularly represents clients in international arbitration cases. Her experience covers a range of commercial disputes in energy, infrastructure, TMT, manufacturing and hotel sectors and relating to M&A transactions, joint ventures and other types of commercial contracts.

She is qualified to practice in the PRC (currently non-practicing) and in England & Wales. Her working languages are English and Mandarin Chinese.

Alex Gunning QC
One Essex Court

Alex Gunning QC is a barrister at One Essex Court with a formidable reputation at the commercial Bar, particularly in the energy, insurance, construction and shipping sectors.

Alex specialises in complex, high-value international disputes concerning international construction projects, shipbuilding and commodities and he has a particularly strong energy and natural resources practice (including in respect of exploration and mining projects). He has been leading counsel in disputes concerning a series of high-profile infrastructure projects, including the Kashagan offshore oilfield project, the Marmaray rail project and the South Stream pipeline.

He is acknowledged in the directories for his expertise which include observations that he is “fantastically user-friendly, extremely accessible, and an advocate of impressive subtlety” and that he is “completely on top of the details, produces exceptional legal submissions and is the best cross-examiner in the arbitration world.

Alex has a particular interest in disputes arising out of the East and South-East Asia region and is the UK JCM for the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

Libin Zhang
General Counsel
ENN, Langfang
Hebei Province

Libin Zhang is General Counsel of ENN Group and  he has been practicing law in China since 1997. His practice covers foreign direct investment in China and overseas investment by Chinese companies, cross-border M&A investment, energy asset acquisition (including oil and gas upstream projects and new energy projects), LNG trading contracts and receiving terminal facilities use agreements, energy industry regulatory advice, compliance and dispute resolution . Mr. Zhang has more than 20 years of experience in both private legal practice and in-house corporate experience.