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The Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center Faculty

Victor  FlattVictor B. Flatt, co-Director
Dwight Olds Chair in Law

Professor Victor B. Flatt returned to the University of Houston in 2017 as the Dwight Olds Chair in Law and the Faculty co-Director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (EENR) Center. He also holds an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar of Carbon Markets at the University of Houston's Global Energy Management Institute. He was previously the inaugural O'Quinn Chair in Environmental Law at UHLC from 2002-2009. 

Professor Flatt's teaching career began at the University of Washington's Evins School of Public Affairs, and he has previously taught at Georgia State University College of Law, and most recently at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was the inaugural Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law and the Co-Director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics (CE3).

Professor Flatt is a recognized expert on environmental law, climate law, and energy law. His research focuses on environmental legislation and enforcement, with particular expertise in the Clean Air Act and NEPA. He is co-author of a popular environmental law casebook, and has authored more than 40 law review articles, which have appeared in journals such as the Notre Dame Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, Washington Law Review, Houston Law Review and the Carolina Law Review. Six of his articles have been recognized as finalists or winner of the best environmental law review article of the year, and one was recognized by Vanderbilt University Law School and the Environmental Law Institute as one of the three best environmental articles of 2010, leading to a seminar and panel on the article in a Congressional staff briefing.

Professor Flatt has served on the AALS sub-committees on Natural Resources and Environmental Law, and was chair of the AALS Teaching Methods Section. He has served on many other board and committees in his career including the national board of Lambda Legal, and the Law School Admission Council's Gay and Lesbian Interests section. He is currently on the Advisory Board of CE3, a member of the ABA's Section on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law Congressional Liaison Committee, and a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform.

Professor Flatt received his B.A. in Chemistry and Math from Vanderbilt University where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar, and his J.D. from Northwestern University, where he was a John Henry Wigmore Scholar. After graduating from Northwestern, Professor Flatt clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tracy  HesterTracy Hester, co-Director

Tracy Hester is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and he directed UHLC's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center from 2010-2013. Professor Hester joined the faculty after serving as a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani and leading its Houston office's environmental group for over 15 years. Professor Hester focuses his research on legal issues raised by environmental compliance policies and enforcement. He has worked extensively on climate change compliance and liability as well as the innovative application of environmental laws to emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and renewable energy.

Professor Hester is currently a member of the governing Council for the American Bar Association's Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, and has served in several other ABA leadership roles (most recently as Chair of the Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee). He is also vice-chair of the Greater Houston Partnership's Environmental Policy Advisory Committee. He was elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2004.

Professor Hester received his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1986 and his B.A. with high honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to Bracewell, he previously worked at the law firms of Sidley & Austin and Baker Botts LLP.

Gina  WarrenGina S. Warren, co-Director
Professor of Law
A.L. O'Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies
Co-director of EENR

Gina S. Warren is the A.L. O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies and co-director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Center. Prior to joining the Law Center in 2016, she taught at Texas A&M University School of Law (2011-2016) and Duquesne University School of Law (2010-2011). Warren also taught internationally at the University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany (2011) and in coordination with the University of Guanajuato in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (2015). At the Law Center she serves a faculty mentor to 1L students and is involved in the Law Center’s Pipeline program. Warren was voted the Student Bar Association Professor of the Year in 2018 and nominated as faculty graduation speaker by the class of 2020.

Her teaching and scholarship focuses on the nexus between the environment, property, social justice, and energy. Her scholarship has appeared in top 20 law review journals, books, and peer-reviewed journals. She is an internationally-recognized scholar with publications in prominent journals such as the Boston University Law Review, the Maryland Law Review, the Missouri Law Review, the Nebraska Law Review, the Idaho Law Review (peer reviewed), theUniversity of Cologne (Germany) Business Law Journal, and the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. Warren’s research has also been cited by the Colorado Supreme Court and showcased by the Washington Post, among others. Warren authored a book chapter on U.S.-Mexico relations in energy and the environment, and her scholarship has been excerpted in prominent energy and renewable energy textbooks.

She is the past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Natural Resources and Energy Law, is a member of the Environmental Law, Property Law, and Women’s Law sections, and has served for the last several years on the sections’ sub-committees. Professor Warren has also served on many other committees and boards in her career, including being the law school representative for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and an advisory board member for the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. She is currently the chair of academic outreach for the Institute for Energy Law.

Professor Warren was in private practice for several years prior to entering academia. She worked as a litigator in land use, environment, and utility law for the international law firm of Perkins Coie based in Seattle, Washington as well as a litigator in a prominent regional firm Post & Schell based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Professor Warren also completed a clerkship for the Honorable Michael Winkelstein of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington.

Darren  Bush Darren Bush
Leonard B. Rosenberg College, Professor of Law
B.A. (Economics), 1991, California State University, San Bernardino; Ph.D. (Economics), 1995, University of Utah; J.D., 1998, University of Utah.

Professor Bush's scholarship focuses on the intersection of regulation and antitrust, with emphasis on deregulated markets, immunities and exemptions, and merger review. Along with Harry First and the late John J. Flynn, he is coauthor on the antitrust casebook FREE ENTERPRISE AND ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION: ANTITRUST (7th Ed.) with Foundation Press. 

Professor Bush received his Ph.D. in economics and J.D., both from the University of Utah. While completing his J.D., he consulted on issues regarding state deregulation of electric utilities, interned at the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, taught various economics courses, and received a Marriner S. Eccles Fellowship in Political Economy.

After receiving his J.D., he served as an Attorney General's Honor Program Trial Attorney at the Antitrust Division's Transportation, Energy, & Agriculture Section, where his primary focus was the investigation of mergers and anticompetitive conduct in wholesale and retail energy markets and airlines. He has testified numerous times on antitrust matters before congressional committees and federal commissions. 

He is also a second-degree black sash in Northern Shaolin/Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu.

Julian Cardenas GarciaJulian Cardenas Garcia
Research Assistant Professor

Professor Cardenas joined the University of Houston Law Center in 2012 as an Energy Scholar and a Visiting Professor affiliated to the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center (EENR Center), focusing on transnational oil and gas transactions and arbitration. As a visiting professor, he has also taught investment law and arbitration in the O&G sector, and O&G industry practices at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) in Brazil; the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) in Monterrey, and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México – ITAM, in Mexico City, Mexico; the University Paris Sud, France; and the University Externado, in Bogota, Colombia.

He works frequently with companies, public authorities, and governments in various areas of oil and gas law and policy. At the EENR Center, he is the coordinator of the "Inter-American Hydrocarbons Regulators Dialogue," an initiative conceived to create a nexus between national hydrocarbons agencies, the private sector, and the academia.

He is a conference speaker on transnational oil and gas law, investment law, international arbitration, best petroleum industry practices, and geopolitics of the oil and gas. He has been a guest speaker in conferences related to these issues in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Gabon, and Kuwait. Also, Professor Cardenas is frequently interviewed by media outlets on Latin American affairs and oil and gas industry matters.

Professor Cardenas has been retained as an independent expert in international arbitrations regarding the upstream petroleum sector in Venezuela and has also been involved in ICC, AAA and ICSID arbitration cases concerning downstream petroleum transactions, direct foreign investments, and international construction projects.

Before joining the EENR Center, he worked as foreign legal clerk at the Arbitration Department of Dewey & Leboeuf, Paris, and also served for nearly six years as a career diplomat for the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working on multilateral affairs with the Organization of the American States (OAS) and the United Nations (U.N.), and bilateral affairs related to sovereign boundary issues. He works effectively in Spanish, French, and English, and has some working proficiency in Portuguese.

He holds a law degree and a B.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Central de Venezuela; a Master of Laws in Arbitration and a Diplôme Superieur d'Université in Business Law from the Sorbonne University - Paris II Pantheon-Assas; and an LL.M. with a Certificate in Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Law from the University of Houston Law Center. He was a Doctoral Fellow at the Research Center for Investment and International Trade Law (CREDIMI-CNRS) at the University of Bourgogne, Dijon, France.

Professor Cárdenas is a violinist who has played with different symphony orchestras in Venezuela, France, and the U.S. He has performed at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Carnegie Hall, and the Sorbonne Amphitheatre, among other venues.

Susan SakmarSusan L. Sakmar
Visiting Assistant Professor
Andrews Kurth Energy Law Scholar

Professor Sakmar is licensed to practice law in California and has over 20 years experience working in a variety of legal, corporate, nonprofit, and academic environments.   She started her professional career as an accountant for Chevron Corporation in San Francisco, California and after being admitted to the California Bar, was an attorney in the commercial litigation department of the San Francisco law firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon where she represented clients in a variety of complex litigation cases.  After leaving practice, she taught International Trade Law under the WTO as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and served on a number of non-profit environmental boards, including board chair for the Jane Goodall Institute.  

She currently is a Visiting Assistant Professor, Andrews Kurth Energy Law Scholar, at the University of Houston Law Center where her scholarly activities are focused on global natural gas markets with a particular focus on LNG and global shale gas development.    She has published and presented a number of papers on these topics and her most recent book Energy For The 21st Century:  Opportunities And Challenges For Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be published in 2013 by leading international publisher Edward Elgar, Ltd. (UK). 

She holds an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, a J.D., cum laude, from the University of San Francisco School of Law, San Francisco, CA., and a business degree (B.Sc.) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.  

Eugene J. Silva II

Gene joined the Exxon Mobil Law Department in April 2009 and is currently Counsel in the International Disputes Group. In this capacity he participates in the oversight of significant investor-state and international commercial disputes, as well as advising on related policy and contractual issues. Prior to joining the company, Gene practiced for over eight years with the law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP. As a member of the firm's International Dispute Resolution Group, Gene represented a variety of companies in both commercial and investor-state arbitrations. He has acted as trial counsel before tribunals constituted under most of the major arbitral rules systems including ICSID, ICC, AAA/ICDR, LCIA, SCC and UNCITRAL, and has also appeared before various U.S. state and federal courts on behalf of clients in energy, maritime and general commercial disputes. Gene received his J.D. from the University of Texas and his LL.M. from the University of Edinburgh.

Elizabeth  Trujillo

Elizabeth Trujillo

Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law
Founding Director, Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas

Elizabeth Trujillo is the Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law and the Founding Director, Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas, who specializes in international trade and investment law, sustainable development and energy, contracts, and international law. Immediately prior to UH, Professor Trujillo was a Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law where she was also the co-convener for their new Global and Comparative Law Program and an Affiliated Faculty member with the Texas A&M University Energy Institute. She also was a Professor of Law at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston where she also served as co-director of their International Law Concentration, a Visiting Professor at Florida State University School of Law, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University Law School. Prior to entering academia, she worked for the Houston office of the New York law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae (later known as Dewey and LeBoeuf) in the areas of corporate law, project finance and international business transactions, with an emphasis on energy and Latin America.

Her publications, which have appeared in top 50 law reviews, books, and peer-reviewed journals, examine the relationship between international trade and investment with domestic regulatory structures, specifically in the areas of energy and the environment, sustainable development, and international consumer protection law. Her recent research focuses more specifically on the trade implications of local decarbonization strategies in national efforts to mitigate for environmental challenges. Due to her expertise on NAFTA and international trade, she has been interviewed by media outlets including the Dallas Morning News and Bloomberg BNA News, and most recently, invited to be part of the NSF Engineering Research Center funded grant Team on Resiliency Enhancement and Disaster-Impact Interception (READII) in the Manufacturing Sector. This research project, sponsored by Texas A&M University Energy Institute and Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station and partnered by other academic institutions such as the University of Texas, Louisiana State University, Florida Atlantic University, Mississippi State University, and Tuskegee University, will focus on Gulf Coast disaster control strategies for the manufacturing sector.

Professor Trujillo was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship to write her book, Reimagining Trade through a Sustainable Development Framework, which will be published with Cambridge University Press in 2020. In furtherance of this book project, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

In 2017, Professor Trujillo was elected to the American Law Institute and in 2018, to the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law where she also serves on the Strategic Initiatives and Book Awards Committees. The Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys named Professor Trujillo “Latina Trailblazer in the Law” in 2012. She currently serves on the Action Committee of the Texas Bar International Law Section.

JacquelineWeaverBret Wells
Associate Professor of Law

Bret Wells is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center.  Professor Wells has been an adjunct professor with the University of Houston Law Center since 2005 and was an adjunct professor with the University of Minnesota Law School in 1999 where he taught international taxation.  Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center as an Assistant Professor of Law, Mr. Wells served as Vice President-Treasurer and Chief Tax Officer for BJ Services Company.  BJ Services Company was a component of the S&P 500 Index prior to its acquisition by Baker Hughes on April 30, 2010.  In his capacity with the company, Mr. Wells was the executive officer responsible for all treasury and tax matters for the company and reported directly to the Chief Financial Officer.  During his tenure, the company made several large public debt offerings, engaged in significant stock repurchases, and renegotiated its major credit facilities.  Prior to joining BJ Services in 2002, Mr. Wells was an Assistant Vice President and Assistant General Tax Counsel at Cargill, Inc. where he was responsible for various international and domestic tax planning matters.  Prior to joining Cargill, Inc. in June 1993, Mr. Wells was a tax associate with the law firm of Baker & Botts, L.L.P. from April 1990 to May 1993 where he specialized in federal income tax matters.

Emeritus Faculty

JacquelineWeaver Jacqueline Lang Weaver
A.A. White Professor of Law

Jacqueline L. Weaver is the A.A. White Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center.  Her teaching and research interests cover oil and gas law, energy law and policy, international petroleum, and environmental and natural resources law. She has lectured on topics in international petroleum transactions in Africa (Uganda, Namibia, and Luanda), Kazakhstan (as a Fulbright scholar), Lisbon, China and Bangkok.  She is a co-author of Smith and Weaver, The Texas Law of Oil and Gas; a national casebook titled Energy, Economics and the Environment; another casebook titled International Petroleum Transactions (Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Fd. Press) and the treatise International Petroleum Exploration & Exploitation Agreements (Barrows 2009).  She has written articles on offshore safety after the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, energy markets, sustainable development in the international petroleum industry, comparative unitization laws, energy policy, and traditional oil and gas law topics. Professor Weaver holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from the University of Houston. She worked as an economist in the Corporate Planning Department of Exxon Co. USA before joining the University of Houston Law Center.


Ricardo Colmenter Ricardo Colmenter

Ricardo Colmenter is an Affiliate Scholar for International Energy Programs at the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Center (EENR) at the University of Houston Law Center. He holds a JD from the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, a LLM International Intellectual Property, Lund University Sweden and a LLM Intellectual Property & Information Law, University of Houston Law Center.

He is Director of Entra Consulting, an international consulting firm that includes oil and gas industry professionals with valuable international, commercial and regulatory experience. Before founding Entra Consulting, Colmenter was General Counsel for the Western Hemisphere of Weatherford International, a member of Halliburton law department, partner at Johnson and Cato and Legal Director of the Venezuelan Patent and Trademark Office. 

Colmenter, a highly respected international energy law expert, has taught as an adjunct professor with the University of Houston’s Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute. Colmenter is lead chairman and program director for advance training courses for National Oil Companies’ legal departments, such as Pemex (Mexico’s state oil company, Petroecuador (Ecuador’s state oil company), Ecopetrol (Colombia) and Petrobras (Brazil ’s state oil companies)  and regulator (CNH and Secretaria de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador). In addition, he has written numerous books and articles regarding international oil transactions, technology transfers in the oil industry and oil and gas international business.

Colmenter’s practice centers on transactional law with a strong business view, which involves structuring multi-million dollar energy integral services contracts, joint operational agreements, licenses, production sharing agreements, mergers and acquisitions in the oil industry and sophisticated oil and gas projects. He has more than 15 years of oil and gas international business experience and advises national oil companies, energy regulator and service companies in Latin America. Colmenter was included in the 2015 edition of the Corporate Counsel 100 Latin America (Legal 500), which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region.

Alfonso  Lopez de la Osa EscribanoAlfonso Lopez de la Osa Escribano
Director, Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and Adjunct Professor

Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano is Director of the Center of U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center, and Adjunct Faculty on "Comparative Health Law" of the Health Law and Policy Institute in this same university. He obtained his PhD. in Public Health Law at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he studied a degree (DEA Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies) on Droit public comparé des Etats Européens (1997). He earned his Law Degree (1995) and Master's degree in European Union Law (1996) at the University Complutense of Madrid in Spain. 

López de la Osa Escribano has taught as Professor of Administrative Law at the University Complutense of Madrid Law School, and at the University of Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (UPPA) in France. He has taught "Biotechnology and Law" at the Instituto de Empresa Business School in Spain. He is a lawyer in Madrid Bar having done litigation before civil, criminal and administrative jurisdictions, and an associate member of several academic research centers, like the Institut d'etudes lberiques et iberico-americaines and the Centre Pau Droit Public at the UPPA in France. 

López de la Osa Escribano's research focuses on international and comparative law issues and how legal systems interact, especially between the US and Mexico, and in European Union Law. Also, in terms of Health Law, he specializes in doctor-patient legal relationship and medical risk management related to Medical Malpractice Professional Insurance Law, as well as Biotechnology and Life Sciences Law. He has written several works in the field of Public Law and Health law in France and Spain. His research also centers on fundamental rights and their enforcement to protect a major right to healthcare access.

Denney L. Wright
Professor of Practice

Denney Wright was appointed a Professor of Practice at the University of Houston Law Center in 2017, having retired from Exxon Mobil Corporation in November 2016 with over forty-two years of service. In his role as a Professor of Practice, Mr. Wright is teaching Oil and Gas Tax and International Petroleum Transactions. He is also organizing and implementing continuing education in the tax and energy areas supporting various degree-granting programs and CLE programs at the Law Center. A new permanent program rolled out in 2019 is the University of Houston Law Center Denney L. Wright International Energy Tax Conference, an annual international energy tax symposium that will focus on international energy tax issues of note. The third annual conference was held virtually and attracted over 300 participants with speakers from six countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the UK and the US. Mr. Wright also serves as a faculty advisor to the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal and to the UHLC Student Chapter of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.

Mr. Wright comes to the Law Center with significant experience in an energy tax practice. He started initially at Exxon Mobil Corporation in the Controller’s Department but served most of his career in the Tax Department as a tax accountant and a tax lawyer. Mr. Wright served in many positions over the years, primarily in the United States but also in the United Kingdom. In his final assignment with ExxonMobil, Mr. Wright was Senior Tax Counsel - Global Training and Development, where he oversaw worldwide U.S. tax training and development for Exxon Mobil Corporation tax personnel.

Mr. Wright has taught Oil and Gas Taxation for over twenty years as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center and internally at Exxon Mobil Corporation. Over the past ten years he has also taught Oil and Gas Taxation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, the University of Texas School of Law and Southern

Methodist University School of Law. Mr. Wright also serves as a lecturer on international tax issues in the University of Calgary Law School International Energy Law Study Abroad Program held at the London School of Economics, planned as an annual program in August of each year in London.

Mr. Wright is a member of the Texas Bar, a member of the American Bar Association and has been a participant in many oil and gas industry groups throughout us long career. Mr. Wright serves on the Parker Fielder Oil & Gas Tax Conference Advisory Committee and has appeared as a panelist at the Parker Fielder Tax Conference as well as numerous other conferences and symposiums addressing oil and gas tax issues during his ExxonMobil career and now as a Professor of Practice at UHLC. Mr. Wright is a member of the Advisory Board of the Texas Federal Tax Institute and serves on the Education Board of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. Mr. Wright published “Understanding the Windfall Profits Tax Act” in the Petroleum Landman in 1980 and Co-Chaired the United States/China Oil and Gas Tax Joint Government/Industry Biennial Conference in Beijing, China in 1998. Mr. Wright published an oil and gas tax casebook for use in law school and graduate business school classes – Oil and Gas Taxation: A Comprehensive Study -- published by CCH Wolters Kluwer(November, 2019). Mr. Wright is now also a co-author of the Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolio (No. 512-2d) on energy titled Tax Incentives for Production and Conservation of Energy and Natural Resources which is updated annually. Mr. Wright received the Parker Fielder Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 in recognition of his long-standing energy tax practice and teaching.

Mr. Wright is married, has three children, three grandchildren and is active in his church as well as in scouting and community service activities.


Denney L. Wright, Oil and Gas Taxation: A Comprehensive Study, CCH Wolters Kluwer, 1st Ed. November, 2019
Denney L. Wright, 512-2d T.M., Tax Incentives for Production and Conservation of Energy and Natural Resources, Bloomberg BNA, 2020
Denney L. Wright, Understanding the Windfall Profits Tax Act, PETROLEUM LANDMAN (1980)


LLM in Tax, University of Houston (May, 1993)
JD, South Texas College of Law (May, 1978)
BBA in Accounting, Texas Tech University (May, 1974)



Visiting Scholar

Aubin Nzaou Aubin Nzaou

Aubin Nzaou is Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow in Law and Energy Policy, Fellow of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (EENR) Center, and Associate Fellow of the Center of U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center (U.S.). In his current position, he conducts research on Energy Transition from the legal perspective in the framework of the project “TGL“, which aims at analyzing the important role of non-state actors, as Oil and Gas companies, and relies on the question, “What prospects for an active role of non-state actors in the energy transition governance?”. He is also Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Center for European Studies (CEE), and at the Research Group of Comparative, European and International Law at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 (France), where he works on Energy Law from both International and Municipal perspective.

Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center, Dr. Nzaou was a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Management of the University of Nîmes (France), Fellow of the CHROME Research Group (Detection, Evaluation, Management of CHRONIC AND EMERGING Risks) as well as Faculty Member at the Department of Law, Economics and Management. He also was an Invited Lecturer at Senghor University, Alexandria (Egypt) from 2016 to 2018, at General Lansana Conté University of Sonfonia, Conacry (Guinea) in 2018, and an Associate Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University Lumière of Lyon 2, Lyon (France) in 2014, as well a Visiting Scholar at the Research Center for Environmental and Urban Planning Law (SERES), and fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Legal Science of the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in 2013.

Aubin Nzaou holds a Ph.D. in the fields of Public International Law and Public Law from Jean-Moulin University Lyon 3, whose dissertation examined the challenging interaction of Oil and Gas Production and Environmental Stewardship in Congo (Brazzaville), and has completed a Postgraduate Program in Business Sustainability Management focused on the implementation of sustainability goals and strategies in Oil and Gas corporate activities, and a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at University of Cambridge.

Dr. Nzaou is currently a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and a fellow of the Platform on International Energy Governance, established within the framework of University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and University College of London. He also has joined the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN).

He speaks 5 languages: French, English, Lingala, Kikongo and Vili.



Robert BallentineRobert S. Ballentine, LL.M.
Haynes and Boone, LLP
1221 McKinney Street, Suite 2100
Houston, TX 77010


Bob Ballentine has more than 30 years of commercial litigation and arbitration experience, primarily concerning disputes over upstream and midstream energy contracts, such as exploration agreements, joint development agreements, joint operating agreements, wellhead sales contracts, gas processing (including keep whole and percent-of-proceeds) contracts, natural gas purchase and sales agreements, MODU maintenance, service agreements, natural gas and gas liquids transportation agreements, natural gas processing agreements, and related contracts. He has been engaged as both trial and appellate counsel in connection with mineral title disputes, particularly those dealing with difficult deed construction issues. He has also represented energy industry clients in admiralty litigation, as well as in a wide variety of adversary proceedings before United States bankruptcy courts.

Theodore BorregoTheodore  Borrego

Theodore R. (Ted) Borrego attended law school at University of Oklahoma's College of Law, where he graduated in 1974, having been appointed to the Law Review. He began his career with Vinson & Elkin in 1974, where he spent five years concentrating principally in the area of oil and gas law. After leaving Vinson & Elkins, Mr. Borrego practiced in Wichita Falls with the firm of Sherrill & Pace, and later, with Johnson & Swanson in Dallas. While at Johnson & Swanson, the firm grew from 125 lawyers in a single city to over 350 lawyers in multiple locations (and, in the process, changing its name to Johnson & Gibbs). Mr. Borrego was in charge of the oil and gas practice of the firm, and expanded it with the firm's growth He also served on the Management Committee and the Technology Committee, where, along with other lawyers, he oversaw the implementation of a large scale network. In 1993, Mr. Borrego decided that the administrative burdens of overseeing a department and management were inter­fering with his desire to practice law, so he left Johnson & Swanson (Johnson & Gibbs). Since 1993, other than a short period of time spent as in house counsel with a major independent, he has essentially been a solo practitioner.

Mr. Borrego's practice has been concentrated in the area of oil and gas exploration and development, both in the domestic area (offshore and on shore) and in foreign areas. He has advised clients in all states where production exists as well as having advised clients in over sixty different countries. His website is at

William CasonWilliam Cason

After graduation from Texas Tech University with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Bill Cason worked his way through the technical ranks of Conoco with wide ranging assignments all over the world, including serving as team leader for numerous upstream and downstream engineering projects, and as the budget coordinator for all Conoco’s refineries.  He was assigned as Conoco’s representative on the Auto – Oil task force, a multi-disciplinary team assisting the EPA with research into clean motor fuels.  This task force was manned by representatives of all US automakers and Major producers of motor fuels.  As a member of the Task Force he interacted extensively with representatives of the Government and the auto industry.

Bill shifted his career path in 1993, pursuing a long held ambition of being a lawyer who understood oil and gas from the bare drill floor to the gas pump.  He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 1996. While at U of H Bill served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the U of H Law review, and was inducted into the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barons.

After passing the bar exam Bill joined the firm of Mayor, Day, Caldwell and Keeton, focusing his practice on all legal aspects of oil and gas exploration, both in the United States and internationally.  In 1998 Bill joined Ocean Energy, where he served as inside counsel on a wide range of projects worldwide including domestic and international acquisitions and dispositions, multiple service agreements in multiple jurisdictions and languages, litigation (including both ICC and LCIA) and compliance related issues, such as the FCPA, internal controls, SEC and FERC issues. In 2005 Bill joined Anadarko as the head of their legal function in London, England with responsibility for supervising and executing the legal support to all of Anadarko’s interests in Africa and the Middle East, as well as special projects in Indonesia and Malaysia. In particular, Bill has spent extensive time counseling clients on the ground in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Angola, Mozambique and Indonesia.

Bill joined Gaither Petroleum as General Counsel for Gaither and its affiliates and subsidiaries in October, 2008 bringing his hands-on, pragmatic problem solving approach to their operations.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Houston Law Review and as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Lighthouse Energy Services, Inc, a generator sales, service and rental company with offices in Houston, San Antonio and Springfield, Missouri. Bill is fluent in French, and enjoys flying and fishing (including the building of custom fishing rods) as his hobbies.  He is happily married to his one and only wife of 23 years, Martha.  He and Martha have three children aged 19, 17 and 16.

Sashe D. DimitroffSashe D. Dimitroff

Sashe Dimitroff is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group in the Houston office. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and intellectual property. He has significant experience in technology disputes, breach of contract & commercial fraud matters, international dispute resolution, oil & gas litigation, environmental disputes, and mass toxic tort. He has also developed “preventative law” strategies for various corporations to avoid future claims and in preparing them to defend various claims should they arise.

Sashe is a member of Texas Bar, the American and the International Bar Associations, and the American Society of International Law. He clerked for the Hon. Howell Cobb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 1992-93. While at the University of Houston Law School, Sashe served as Executive Editor for the University of Houston Law Review. He is also an appointed member of the State Bar of Texas Standing Committee on Court Rules that is responsible for revisions of the Rules of Practice in civil actions and the related statutes of Texas.

Charles IrvineCharles Irvine

Charles graduated from the University of Houston Law Center. He has a Masters in Conservation from University College London. 

Before entering the legal field, he worked for five years in Greece as a program leader on environmental projects that protected sea turtles and marine mammals in coastal areas. During this time, he participated in extensive efforts to design and establish protected areas, eventually resulting in a new National Park. As an independent consultant, he researched and wrote comprehensive management plans for seven Mediterranean protected coastal areas under contracts with the World Wildlife Fund and European Union funded initiatives.   

Charles is a member of the Texas Bar and is admitted to practice before U.S. District Court, Southern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston law Center, where he teaches a classes in Texas Coastal and Ocean Law, Environmental Law, and Practice of Environmental Law. 

Charles represents clients in state and federal court, and in matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Previous cases include challenges to air permits, Clean Air Act citizens suits, Endangered Species Act litigation, and NEPA litigation.

Kathleen C. Lake

Kathleen C. Lake is a retired partner of the law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP. For over 32 years prior to her retirement at the end of 2012, Kathy's practice focused on state and federal utility law and energy regulation, energy transactions, and administrative law and litigation. Kathy has broad experience with all segments of the domestic energy industry, having represented producers, interstate and intrastate gas pipelines, electric cooperatives, electric utilities, marketers, end-users, and financial institutions active in the industry. Kathy taught courses on energy regulatory topics as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Bates Law Center from 2011-2015. She is President of Rancho Loma Alta, Inc. a privately held family corporation with business interests in South Texas.

Before practicing law in Houston, Kathy earned her A.B. magna cum laude, from Middlebury College, and her J.D. with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law, where she served as associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and was selected for membership in the Order of the Coif and Phi Kappa Phi.

Daniella D. Landers

Daniella focuses her practice on a broad range of environmental compliance, transactional and litigation matters. She counsels energy companies, manufacturers, industrial facilities, financial institutions, real estate interests and other businesses on complex environmental and related land use issues, including environmental risk assessment, crisis management and incident response, environmental permitting and compliance, environmental due diligence in acquisitions and transactions, management of environmental issues affecting the upstream, midstream, downstream, and renewables/alternative energy sectors, natural resources damages claims, climate change initiatives, and pollution exposure disputes.

Daniella frequently counsels clients on corrective actions, brownfields redevelopment, environmental closures and groundwater remediation as well as assists in the review and audit of operations to address air, water and waste compliance issues for manufacturing, industrial or waste disposal facilities. She has been seconded by clients as in-house counsel on several occasions to handle environmental issues.

Daniella helps clients navigate environmental crises and develop legal response strategies tailored to each specific situation. She handles governmental investigations of environmental matters, environmental enforcement defense, responses to citizen protest actions, cost recovery claims and Superfund litigation.

Additionally, she is a prolific speaker and writer on environmental, energy and litigation issues. She has been featured in Law360 articles and on National Public Radio (KUHF). She serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

Henry S. May, Jr.

Henry May has extensive experience in the regulatory, policy, and transactional aspects of the natural gas industry. He has represented clients in energy transactions, federal regulatory proceedings and related appeals before federal courts. Mr. May was a partner with Vinson & Elkins LLP until January 1, 2014, and was the head of that firm's energy regulatory practice from 1990 to 2012.

Bill  Moore

Bill Moore is a 1981 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and a 1978 graduate of Harvard College. He has performed domestic onshore and offshore and international commercial negotiations for Exxon, Conoco, BP, Unocal, Hydro, and Statoil, where he is now employed. He served on the committees that generated the 2000 Model Deepwater JOA, the AAPL model Shelf Operating Agreement, and the 2007 Model Deepwater JOA. He is a frequent speaker on offshore JOAs and its exhibits and has made presentations at OCS workshops, CLE seminars, International Oil Scouts Association conferences, and COPAS meetings. Last fall, as an adjunct professor, he taught a course entitled "Offshore Leasing" at the University of Houston Law Center. He will be teaching this course during the spring semester of 2014.

Norman J. Nadorff

Norman Nadorff is Senior Counsel for the Brazilian law firm, Tauil & Chequer (associated with Mayer Brown). His practice centers on international energy law and ethics law compliance.

For 30 years, Norman served as in-house counsel for major oil companies in a variety of locations and positions. He was Senior Counsel for BP in Angola from 2006 to 2015 as well as Legal Manager for BP Brazil and ARCO Indonesia, where he held two expatriate assignments in the 1990's. Due to his extensive expatriate experience, Norman is adept at finding practical solutions to thorny legal issues facing foreign subsidiaries and in developing national legal departments.

Norman has drafted and negotiated a wide range legal instruments, including host government, farmout, joint operating, EPC, drilling, gas sales, shareholder and project finance agreements.   At ARCO, Norman wrote the Company's policies on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.S. Anti-boycott laws and U.S. Export Regulations. He has participated in corruption, fraud, conflict of interest and hostage-taking investigations.

Norman has been Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center since 2012 and has taught Drafting and Negotiating International Petroleum Agreements in several U.S. and foreign law schools.  In 2006, he played key roles in the creation of a pioneering international oil and gas master's program at Angola's national law school, which is now in its tenth year.  Norman lectures frequently on anti-corruption law, effective contract drafting and development of local talent.

Norman holds a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law and a master's degree in Spanish and Portuguese from Saint Louis University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was a Fulbright Fellow in Law in Brazil (1980-1981).

Scott ShermanScott  A. Sherman

Scott Sherman focuses his environmental law and government agency experience on the management of environmental liabilities and the revitalization of contaminated properties.  Scott is Managing Director at Hemisphere Development LLC, a real estate development company focusing on distressed properties, and provides expert Superfund and Brownfields consulting to private and public sector clients.

Over the past two decades, Scott has built federal and state environmental cleanup programs, advised Fortune 100 executives on asset management, and driven to resolution complex issues at contaminated sites.  He previously served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC as the Associate Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER).  As the Agency’s deputy program official for OSWER, Scott provided strategic direction and leadership on the Agency’s Brownfields Program, Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action and Redevelopment, and Land Revitalization.  Scott also worked with counterparts at the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the General Services Administration to facilitate the cleanup and reuse of federal facilities and real property assets.  During his tenure at EPA, he also served as the Agency’s top Superfund and RCRA lawyer (Associate General Counsel for Solid Waste and Emergency Response), where he crafted legal strategies and approaches for liability resolution.  These efforts provided the foundation for U.S. EPA Superfund and Brownfield policy reforms and cleared the way for successful redevelopment projects.  

At the state level, Scott crafted brownfield initiatives and built out the state’s voluntary cleanup program at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  He also developed risk-based, voluntary cleanup approaches for oil and gas properties at the Railroad Commission of Texas. 

Scott’s work with Fortune 100 energy companies has centered on the identification and management of corporate environmental liabilities and risk, with particular experience in asset acquisition and real property transactions.  As environmental counsel and environmental affairs director, he also developed and implemented corporate environmental management and sustainability initiatives and designed protocols for engagement with shareholder groups and NGOs.   

Scott serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Law School Alumni Association (Houston).  He has held leadership positions within the American Bar Association, including Vice Chair, Environmental Committee, Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and Vice Chair, Committee on Smart Growth and Urban Policy, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.  

From 2003 – 2008, he was a member of the adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School, where he taught a course on environmental issues in real estate.  Scott is the co-editor and chapter author of Brownfields: A Comprehensive Guide to Redeveloping Contaminated Property (3rd Ed. American Bar Association 2010).     

Scott received his B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of Texas and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.  He also holds an M.S. in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University, where his research focused on the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties.

James SkeltonJames Skelton

James W. Skelton, Jr. is an international oil and gas lawyer who is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of the State of Texas (1976), and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (1978).  Mr. Skelton devoted the bulk of his career to working for ConocoPhillips Company, formerly named Conoco Inc., as a specialist in international petroleum transactions from 1980 until he retired in 2008.  Since then, he has served as Of Counsel to The Stinemetz Law Firm, where his practice is focused on both international and domestic oil and gas transactions, including joint ventures, acquisitions and divestitures.  His international practice has taken him to more than 35 countries in the Former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and South America. 

Mr. Skelton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Arizona State University (1968), a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law (1975) and a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from New York University (1978).  He has published over a dozen articles and book reviews for legal periodicals, and has made many presentations at international legal conferences in Houston, Dallas, London and Moscow.  Mr. Skelton has an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

In the Fall Semester of 2008, Mr. Skelton resumed his association with the University of Houston Law Center as an Adjunct Professor and began teaching a new course called Energy Law: Emerging Markets.  His previous teaching experiences at the Law Center included teaming with Professor Jacqueline Weaver in 2003 to teach International Energy Transactions, as well as teaching Legal Communications II in the Spring Semesters of 1980 and 1981.  In addition, Mr. Skelton has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Houston Journal of International Law since 1980, and served as the Chairman of the Advisory Board from 1999 to 2010.  He also served as a Director of the E&P Licensing Group for the University of Houston's Russian Petroleum Legislation Project in the early 1990's.