STA, 22 October 2020 - British company Ascent Resources has entered into direct negotiations with Slovenia in a bid to potentially settle the dispute over permits for the extraction of gas in the north-east of the country.
In an announcement made in a filing with the London Stock Exchange, Ascent Resources says the negotiations will be carried out on a strictly confidential basis.
The company says the negotiations will not prejudice its rights to pursue its investment treaty claim under the UK - Slovenia bilateral investment treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty.
Claiming that Slovenia is breaching its obligations under the two treaties to the detriment of the company's investments in Slovenia, Ascent Resources has formally begun procedures to start an investor dispute against Slovenia at international arbitration.
The request for arbitration cannot be entered after the expiry of a three-month period in which the parties can try to solve the dispute amicably.
According to explanations recently provided by the Slovenian State Attorney's office, request for arbitration can be filed after 23 October unless the dispute has been resolved by then. This is because the official notification on the existence of the dispute was handed to Slovenia on 23 July.
The company alleges that through Slovenia's violation of its obligations under the two treaties, it has sustained considerable harm, considering it has invested more than EUR 50 million in the development of the Petišovci oil and gas field.
The Slovenian Environment Agency issued a decision in March that an environmental impact assessment is needed before a permit can be issued for extraction of gas in Petišovci by re-stimulating two currently producing wells as planned by Ascent Resources and its Slovenian partner Geoenergo. The decision was upheld by the Administrative Court in June this year.
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