Slovenia: Petisovci gas project permits1. June 2020. / SEE Energy News
The statement from the UK-based Ascent Resources said that the first step, which is the feedback from the Administrative Court appeal initiated by the joint venture partners in July 2019 against the decision of the Slovenian Environmental Agency (ARSO) to require a full environmental impact assessment, is anticipated to be received by the end of August 2020. The company said that it expects to obtain permits for a re-entry and stimulation of its Petisovci gas project in Slovenia by the end of the year.
In preparation for receiving the permits to stimulate PG-10 and PG-11A wells, Ascent has hired an expert consultancy team to review the historic stimulation data at Petisovci, and to design a detailed forward stimulation program in order for the company to be able to procure equipment without delay when permits are received, taking advantage of the reduced prices of stimulation equipment in the current economic climate.
In addition, Ascent has submitted a proposal to its joint venture partner in Slovenia to redraw their joint venture structure in a cost-effective and industry-standard manner, which also includes a proposed solution for the outstanding balances from 2019 due to be paid by Ascent.
Ascent said it has invested some 50 million euros since it entered the Petisovci project 13 years ago, adding that the asset has significant oil and gas reserves and resources and benefits from an established, local production infrastructure with connections to both domestic and export markets.
Last June, Ascent said that it plans to take legal action against Slovenia after it was ordered to get a separate permit for hydraulic fracturing. This statement comes after the Environment Ministry upheld a decision of the Environment Agency (ARSO) on the controversial gas extraction project in Petisovci. The Ministry agreed that an environmental impact assessment and a separate environmental permit were necessary because the location of the gas wells was close to water sources and because underground waters and agricultural land in the area do not have very good ability to regenerate. According to the company, the decision mistakenly concluded that the project fell within a conservation area and misapplied EU case law in relation to mitigation measures. The company planned to seek damages for loss of future income from the project which would have been expected to have been a multiple of the historic investment of some 50 million euros. However, in April, Ascent said that it has ended talks with potential funder of its litigation against Slovenia.
Ascent Resources has entered into a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the Slovenian company Geoenergo under which it manages operations in the Petisovci oil and gas field. In August 2016, Geoenergo announced that Croatian oil company INA will purchase natural gas from two wells in northeastern Slovenia and transport it to its central gas station in Molve for further processing and cleaning.
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