Stephen Dow

+44 (0) 1382 384818
Senior Lecturer in Energy Law


Stephen Dow, LLB (Hons), LLM, DipLP, is Senior Lecturer in Energy Law. A qualified solicitor, following a period in private practice he took a Masters degree at the Centre, working on post-privatisation regulation of energy industries, before being appointed to the Centre in 1994.

In addition to working on legal aspects of stranded investment in the energy sector, his research interests include oil and gas law. He is the Co-Director of the Centre's successful United Kingdom Oil and Gas Law seminar. He has an interest in financing of energy projects, and teaches the Centre's course on Transnational Natural Resource and Energy Finance, particularly as projects are built in transition and developing economies. He is co-director of the Centre's Energy Finance seminar.

Stephen Dow is responsible for three other courses offered by the Centre, Downstream Energy Law and Policy; United Kingdom Oil and Gas Law; and European Community Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy, a course supported by the Jean Monnet Project of the European Commission. He is the ERASMUS programme coordinator for the Centre.


His current research interests are in liberalisation and privatisation of electricity and gas industries. He has served as a consultant to the Parliament of Ukraine as the forthcoming electricity reform law was developed, advising as the draft law was refined into line with the practical reforms towards a liberalised electricity market. He is writing on the regulatory and legal needs for electricity sector reform in transition economies.

Stephen Dow is also involved in research into proposed reforms of the electricity market in China, and has recently been awarded funding from the Nuffield Foundation. He also continues to study developments in the UK energy markets, particularly in the run-up to the introduction of full competition in electricity and gas supply in 1998, and continues to serve as Current Survey Editor of the Utilities Law Review.


Teaches On-Campus Modules for:

National and Comparative Oil and Gas Law (CP51039)

The module aims to provide an understanding of the regulatory and contractual mechanisms required to make a single jurisdiction work in relation to petroleum law. The emphasis is on providing the student with knowledge and understanding of the differences (and similarities) between regimes based on licences, and those based on production sharing contracts.
All oil and gas law throughout the world is the same at a basic level – international law determines which state is entitled to the resource; the entitled state grants rights to individuals to extract the resource; the individuals agree amongst themselves as to how to split the costs and benefits; there is unitisation if necessary; the production is taxed; pipelines etc are built to move the production; the production is sold; and the facilities are ultimately decommissioned. This module aims to show the different models states adopt to facilitate petroleum production, including showing the role for state companies.

Teaches both On-Campus and Distance Learning Modules for:

Downstream Energy Law and Policy

Downstream energy law and policy is concerned with the structure and regulation of gas and electricity markets. With the advent of liberalisation, most gas and electricity markets have become semi-competitive. There are regulatory structures to control entry to the market. There are rules on how the producers / generators interact with the suppliers – either bilateral markets or pools. There are rules for producers / generators which get special treatment – frequently state-owned companies and renewable generators. There are measures to control security of supply. There are measures dealing with pass through of costs – and attempts to ensure that the consumer price does not reach unacceptable levels. The course looks at regulatory structures – the role of government; the role of the independent regulator; the role of the market operator and the transmission system operator. The course looks at the options for structuring liberalised and semi-competitive markets. It looks at measures to reduce investment risks for additional capacity. It recognises that the position of capacity short markets is different from that of markets with capacity excess – even if in the long term, both ultimately want the same thing…cheap and reliable delivery of the commodity.

Legal Framework for International Project Finance

Project financing is a tool, not an outcome in itself. This course recognises that energy projects are frequently financed by lenders. Where the lenders are content to accept repayment solely from the revenues of that project – not from the wider revenues of the sponsor – there is a limitation of recourse (or at the extreme an absence of recourse). That is project financing. The course looks at how various types of energy project can be structured to achieve that goal. The bank is not an equity risk taker – its business is to take credit risks. Project finance will force the bank to take a degree of project risk, so the bank will demand a contractual structure which mitigates that risk exposure. The course is concerned with understanding the risks for various energy projects – oil development; gas development; power generators; mining projects etc – and seeing how the principle risks inherent in those projects are moved by contract to the party best able to bear the risk. The course understands that where the bank is happy with the project risk profile, it will lend. If the bank is not happy with the project risk profile, it will not lend. The course looks at the risks which can be moved and how are they moved to a party acceptable to the lender – whilst at the same time ensuring that the holder of that risk is happy with the level of payment for taking that risk.