STA, 12 March 2019 - The UK-based company Ascent Resources has announced it will appeal against the Slovenian Environment Agency's decision that it will have to seek an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its gas extraction project in the far north-east of the country.
"The partners plan to appeal the decision within the prescribed 15-day period," the UK company has said as quoted by Your Oil and Gas News portal.
The key ground for appeal will be that all six expert government agencies which the agency is required to consult as part of the screening assessment process concluded that no EIA should be required on the basis that the project to re-stimulate two currently producing wells was not likely to have significant effects on the environment.
The Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) failed to follow the findings even though bound to so, having not undertaken any independent assessment of the likely impacts of the environment, Ascent Resources said in the post.
Ascent Resources has been extracting and selling untreated natural gas from the Petišovci field in cooperation with its Slovenian partner Geoenergo, but the partners have been unable to get permits for hydraulic fracturing and for a new gas processing plant due to repeated appeals by environmentalists.
The company said that the partners had applied for the screening assessment in May 2017, so they also plan to challenge ARSO's latest decision for not being issued within the two-month period prescribed by Slovenian law. "The failure to comply with other provisions of Slovenian law as well as breaches of EU law will be detailed in the appeal."
Meanwhile, Ascent Resources welcomed ARSO acknowledging that the proposed project cannot be regarded as "fracking" as defined by the European Commission in its recommendation in 2014.
Ascent Resources has been working with legal experts in Slovenia and London to prepare claims for damages as "a result of the numerous and continued failures and delays by ARSO and the ministry to comply with Slovenian and EU law".
It said that "any potential claim for damages will take into account the amount invested by Ascent in the project, currently in excess of EUR 50m, and future expected profits from the development of the field which is estimated to be a multiple of the existing investment".