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    Ascent in Talks with Slovenia to Settle Dispute


The company hopes to settle the dispute amicably.

by: Joe Murphy

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Ascent in Talks with Slovenia to Settle Dispute

London-listed Ascent Resources said on October 22 it had entered into direct talks with Slovenia to try and settle an investment dispute amicably.

The company warned Slovenia's government of an impending international arbitration lawsuit in July, citing breaches to the UK-Slovenia bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). Ascent was denied a permit last year to hydraulically fracture wells to boost production at its Petisovci tight gas field.

Ascent said the negotiations with the government would "not prejudice the company's rights to pursue its investment treaty claim under the BIT and ECT."

The company has spent around €50mn over the last 11 years on developing Petisovci, but it is now struggling to arrest output decline. Since being denied a fracturing permit, it has shifted its focus to other countries. In April it entered talks to secure a production-sharing contract for an onshore oil block in Cuba.