Unofficial Report Claims Slovenia Will Reject Fracking Settlement with Ascent Resources

By , 18 Mar 2021, 10:43 AM Business

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STA, 18 March 2021 - The newspaper Delo reported unofficially on Thursday that Slovenia was not to accept a settlement with the British company Ascent Resources over the dispute over permits for the extraction of gas by means of hydraulic fracturing in the north-east of the country.

The two sides entered negotiations last October, but the British company said this would 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 to the detriment of the company's investments in Slovenia, Ascent Resources formally begun procedures to start an investor dispute at international arbitration.

According to Delo, the deadline for Slovenia to announce its decision runs out on Friday, and the State Attorney's Office told the newspaper that Slovenia would inform the other party about its viewpoint within the agreed time.

"Since the negotiations about a possible solution of the dispute with a mutual agreement are still confidential, we are not able to provide more information," it added.

The negotiations are being held as a damages lawsuit by Ascent Resources is looming, with the company, according to Delo, expected to demand EUR 120 million in compensation.

The company alleges that through Slovenia's violation of its obligations under the two treaties, it has sustained considerable harm, as 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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