STA, 17 July 2019 - Ascent Resources, the UK developer of the Petišovci gas field in eastern Slovenia, has reportedly launched administrative dispute proceedings in Slovenia after it was ordered to get a separate permit for hydraulic fracturing.
The move, reported on Tuesday by the Stock Market Wire news portal, comes after the Environment Ministry upheld a decision of the Environment Agency (ARSO) on the controversial gas extraction project in Petišovci.
The ministry agreed that an environmental impact assessment and a separate environmental permit were necessary because the location of the gas wells was close to water sources and because underground waters and agricultural land in the area do not have very good ability to regenerate.
"The decision of ARSO and the Environment Ministry ignores the opinion of the six independent expert bodies whose advice ARSO sought," Ascent said.
The decision mistakenly concluded that the project fell within a conservation area and misapplied EU case law in relation to mitigation measures, Ascent also said as it announced multi-pronged legal action against Slovenia on 14 July, a day before the deadline for the Administrative Court appeal.
Aside from challenging the decision at the Administrative Court, Ascent plans to submit a claim for damages against the state for breach of EU law including for the unreasonably long time it took for the decision to be reached.
The company will seek damages for loss of future income from the project "which would have been expected to have been a multiple of the historic investment of some EUR 50 million."
It also plans to lodge an investment treaty arbitration claim under the Energy Charter Treaty.
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