Slovenia: Climbing Sources seeking more than 100m euros in compensation

“Slovenia has refused to resolve the dispute peacefully at this stage by concluding an agreement with the British company Ascent Resources,” the State Attorney’s Office told the Slovenian news agency (STA). Umanotera at Focus, the Society for Sustainable Development, has long called on the Government, informing the company that a solution is out of the question and immediately concluding secret negotiations, to protect Slovenian legislative autonomy and not come under pressure from Ascent Resources.

The British company Ascent Resources, which intends to extract gas in Petišovsko polje, recently launched proceedings to initiate arbitration proceedings against Slovenia. The reason behind this procedure is that obtaining an environmental permit has been delayed since 2017, with investors indicating that they have invested 50m euros in more than ten years. Although at first it seemed that the dispute would be resolved peacefully by paying for the settlement, the State Prosecutor’s Office told STA that Slovenia “rejected the amicable settlement of the dispute by concluding a settlement”.

Ascent sources reported that on July 24, 2020, the company officially notified the Government of Slovenia of the existence of disputes under the MB-Slovenia Bilateral Investment Agreement (“BIT”) and the Energy Charter Agreement (“ECT”). Following the issuance of the Dispute Notice, the Company began a mandatory mandatory three-month “cooling off” period, designed to allow the parties to attempt to resolve their dispute before arbitration.

Ninety days after the submission of the Dispute Notice on 22 October 2020, the Company announced that it would enter into direct negotiations with the Government of Slovenia with the aim of resolving the claims in an amicable manner. Furthermore, on February 22, 2021, the company confirmed that it would not initiate arbitration proceedings before March 19, 2021, at the request of the state.

The company said that after the letter from the state, an amicable settlement could not be reached at the moment and expects the arbitration procedure to start soon. As part of the direct hearings before the arbitration settlement, the Company submitted to the state a calculation of claims in the total amount significantly exceeding 100 million euros.

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