Ascent Resources to take legal action against Slovenia after being denied permit

By bne IntelliNews June 14, 2019

London-based oil and gas exploration and production company Ascent Resources said on June 14 it will take legal action against Slovenia after it received an official response from the Slovenian environment ministry confirming it had been denied permits for operations at Petisovci gas project in the country.

The ministry decision means that the plans to restimulate Pg-10 and Pg-11A wells at the Petisovci gas field in Slovenia have been thwarted. A gas processing plant in Petisovci was also planned.

"The decision of the environment ministry is deeply damaging to the project and to the interests of Slovenia, we will seek to obtain full redress for shareholders through local and international courts," Ascent Resources CEO Colin Hutchinson said in the statement.

Ascent Resources will also submit a claim for damages against Slovenia for breach of EU law including for the unreasonably long time it took for the decision to be reached.  

“This demonstrates a lack of respect to a foreign investor who has invested more than €50mn in the project over its twelve years of operations in the country,” the company said.

The claim will not only relate to investments so far but would also take into account the future project value which was expected to be a multiple of the €50mn invested so far.

The British company said that the decision of Slovenia’s environment agency, ARSO, and the environment ministry ignored the opinion of six independent expert bodies and that the decision mistakenly concluded that the project fell within a conservation area and misapplied EU case law in relation to mitigation measures.

After this, Ascent Resources will also take action to reduce costs at the Slovenian project to the minimum necessary.  

“The strategy of the company remains to maximise the value of its Slovenian asset while seeking to grow in the region,” it said.

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