Law Center Student Wins International Energy Law Writing Competition

By Janet Miranda

Megan Rollag, a third-year UH Law Center (UHLC) student, won top honors in the 2019-2020 Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Writing Competition. Her paper titled, “Future of Cross-Border Pipeline Projects in AMLO’s Mexico: What’s the Risk” is about the multifaceted nature of $1 billion international investment projects in the oil and gas industry.

Rollag’s interest in international law stems from a longtime passion sparked by her family and interest in international politics and languages. Her father’s job exposed her to different cultures and places. After graduating from Baylor University with degrees in International Studies and Spanish, she chose UH for law school because of the school’s connections to international markets.

“I always had an interest in an international legal practice given my academic background,” Rollag said. “When I came to UH, energy law was something on everyone’s mind. I soon realized that working in oil and gas was a springboard for practically any international law practice.”

In her paper, Rollag focused on risk factors that could affect cross-border pipeline investments, such as political regime shifts, social and cultural interests and domestic environmental laws that could effectively stop or delay the projects.

Her research examined key risk factors for companies with preexisting contracts in Mexico.

“As these contracts are rolled out through their tenure,” Rollag said, “we can learn from high-risk issues in order to improve contract construction, transparency and administration.”

She said there are a lot of lessons to be learned from country-specific approaches because they give investors and regulators a better idea of the intricacies of pipeline law in those countries as the law continues to change as a result of the “shale boom” in the Permian Basin.

The fluctuating and at times politically influenced oil and gas industry keeps her on her toes, something that she said she enjoys about this area of law.

“International oil and gas law is much more than working in an isolated technical industry. It’s connected to corporate transactions, international and domestic environmental standards, and international arbitration. It’s a multifaceted practice that touches more than the price at the gas pump in a multidisciplinary and impactful way,” Rollag said.

After graduation, she plans to pursue an energy career in Latin America and hopes to work for an energy company or a law firm with an international energy or arbitration practice.

In the meantime, her winning paper is now eligible for submission to the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators’ official publication, the Journal of World Energy Law & Business.

She will be invited to attend either the association’s 2020 International Petroleum Summit in Bangkok or the Model Contracts Workshop in Rio de Janeiro in October 2020.