Ascent Resources says ready to defend interests in Slovenia

By bne IntelliNews January 15, 2019

UK-based Ascent Resources, an oil and gas exploration and production company focused on Slovenia and Central Europe, said on January 14 it has appointed legal advisers and will be ready to defend its legitimate interests in Slovenia if necessary.

“While we remain hopeful that the permitting system in Slovenia will function equitably and expeditiously to confirm the necessary permits, the board of Ascent has appointed legal advisers experienced in pursuing energy related disputes, and, while no decision to proceed has yet been taken, the board will be ready to defend the company's legitimate interests if necessary,” the company said.

The company's focus for many years has been to develop its high-potential Petisovci project in northeast Slovenia. However, it has been unable to develop the project as planned due to permitting issues. 

“During 2018 the company carried out an extensive strategic review process where the project was marketed widely to potential partners. Despite a significant level of interest from well qualified parties, the process was frustrated, in a large part, by the uncertainties created by the Slovenian permitting system,” Ascent Resources said.

Ascent Resources also announced it has resumed its previous strategy to expand its interests beyond Slovenia while continuing to focus on a way forward to develop the significant reserves at Petisovci project.

The Petisovci project partners have applied for two separate permits: the IPPC permit, which would allow the joint venture to install a processing facility to treat gas produced from the field to a standard suitable for the Slovenian national grid; and the re-stimulation permits, which would allow the existing wells to be worked over to bring their production back to full potential, Ascent Resources said.

In November, the Slovenian environment minister announced an internal review into the permitting process.  This review concluded in early December with the findings of the review focussed on procedural issues within the Environment Agency (ARSO) and not the content of the permit applications, Ascent said. The whole process has led to delays. 

Ascent added it will remain hopeful that both permits will be issued in due course while at the same time continuing to explore other ways to increase production from Petisovci independent of permitting.

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