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UK Ascent Resources sues Slovenia over stalled fracking project

London-listed oil and gas company Ascent Resources filed a lawsuit against Slovenia after being required to conduct an environmental impact assessment before fracking near a water source, claiming that the request is unreasonable.

The legal action was taken based on the UK-Slovenia bilateral investment treaty and the multilateral Energy Charter Treaty.

In a letter to Slovenian government sent in July the company’s lawyers said that the decision of the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) has not been based on the recommendations of Slovenian experts but that is “arbitrary and unreasonable” news site Climate Home News reported.

Friends of the Earth Slovenia accused Ascent Resources of endangering the country’s drinking water supply and urged the new Slovenian government not to bow to pressure.

In 2007, Ascent entered a joint venture with a state-owned Slovenian company Geonergo to extract gas from Petisovci field in northeastern Slovenia. 

In August 2019, Ascent Resources said it was preparing to sue Slovenia for €50mn in damages caused by the authorities' refusal to grant a permit for the use of hydraulic fracturing, needed to boost production at the Petisovci gas field.

In April this year, the British company announced that it ended talks with a potential funder of its litigation process against Slovenia related to its Petisovci gas field project

Ascent said at the time that significant production growth at the Petisovci field in Slovenia can only be achieved when the partners have successfully obtained the required permits to re-stimulate the existing producing wells.