Serbia: Serbia fulfilled all its oblitations for Onegiga project, offshore company Securum company claims 160MEUR from Serbian state

5. August 2013. / News Serbia Energy

If Government of Serbia i.e. Ministry of Energy does not issue appropriate location where Company Securum Equity Partners can construct the biggest solar park in the world, according to an earlier agreement by 23rd August, law representatives of this company will bring a lawsuit for damage compensation in amount of 160 million EUR in front of international courts.

As Igor Vukmirovic explains, Director of Onegiga Solar Park Incubator, the company registered in Serbia and formed by American Company Securum Equity Partners for needs of solar park construction in our country, those two companies have signed “Roof agreement for mutual rights and obligations related to investment in renewable sources of energy and construction of solar parks in Serbia” on 26 October last year.

-According to the rules from this agreement signed by Minister of Energy, Zorana Mihajlovic and Minister of Finances, Mladjan Dinkic, Onegiga should construct solar park with total installed power of 1.000 MW on the surface 3.000 ha big. Total investment is 1,75 billion EUR worth with our obligation to be over by 2015. In order to realize investment Serbian Government issued us a land in South Serbia, 30 thousand ha of land more accurately, where we should locate appropriate parcels for construction of solar park. The problem is that we got completely inadequate land from Serbian Government i.e. only surface of 135,5 ha is satisfying and panels can be constructed there. However, it raises a question what happens to the rest of adequate land for panel construction which does not exist on the territory offered to us- Vukmirovic stresses.

He underlines that the majority of proposed parcels does not accomplish necessary technical criterions for construction of solar park, according to the technical estimation engineers did.

Moreover, we as investors did additional analysis. Construction of solar park needs land surfaces that have to satisfy certain criterions like sun radiation, slope not bigger than 5%, transmission line closeness and possibility of machinery approach that will work on the project. We didn’t get such appropriate criterions on the South Serbia’s land issued by Government. It is completely inappropriate land on the territory of national park, various mountain hills and settlements where we simply cannot construct panels. Therefore we asked from the Ministry of Energy an alternative location of 3.000 ha needs for this purpose- Vukmirovic emphasizes.

He adds that Ministry has sent a letter which proposes reconsideration of alternative locations like the one in the scope of open surface pits complexes Kolubara and Kostolac.

-We were proposed to visit Kostolac and Kolubara what we did and then Director of Copper Mine Kolubara, Milorad Grcic stated that the first contact was achieved with an expectation to launch serious and long-term cooperation. We had reported Ministry of Energy after the visit that this alternative location is appropriate, but we didn’t get any answers. So our attorney office asks for an explanation from Minister of Resources, Zorana Mihajlovic. She answered on 25 March that authority departments of Serbia have not offered these parcels officially”- Vukmirovic points.

Ministry of Energy claims that “visit to this area was organized in other matters and that there was no official proposal to identify these parcels as appropriate for construction of solar parks because they are used for work of the biggest energy objects for electricity production in Serbia”. Securum Equity Partners Company believes that they are misguided this way because they were offered to observe these locations as alternatives and many media reports done during the visit proves it.

Attorney office that is in charge of Securum Equity Partners has sent a letter to ministers Mihajlovic and Dinkic asking from them to explain why Kostolac and Kolubara locations cannot be used for project realization. However, we have not get any answers so far- it is said in Securum.

-Considering that we had accomplished all our obligations from signed memorandum and Serbia did nothing, we decided to be patient a little while. We think that investment we are planning to realize is very good for Serbia which would cashed from 700 to 800 million EUR in the budget from this investment. However, if we don’t get 3.000 ha of land for construction beside our good will, we will be forced to sue Serbia in the country and abroad. The agreement specified that if the contract is broken for any reason, the side that caused it will have to pay penalties of 900 thousand EUR. Our attorneys in Serbia will ask for compensation from law authorities in the country. On the other side, we will ask for compensation in front of International Arbitrage Court in London in amount of 160 million EUR. This is amount our attorney company “Baker and McKenzie”, that will represent us in this case, estimated as a damage- Vukmirovic stresses.

State: We are only one that have a right on compensation

Deputy Minister of Energy, Development and Environment denies statements that Serbia will pay the compensation to Securum Equity Partners.

-There are no articles in the agreement we signed that would obligate our side to pay any compensation. The country has done all its obligations toward Securum Equity Partners. This company was offered 10 times larger surface than they asked. Securum Equity Partners has not offered any concrete investment so, according to the concluded agreement if someone has right on compensation, it is Serbia- Trifunovic concludes.

Source; Serbia Energy/Danas

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