Ascent Resources proceeding with Slovenia dispute
Onshore Caribbean, Latin America and Europe-focussed energy and natural resources company Ascent Resources updated the market on its portfolio on Thursday, having served the Republic of Slovenia with a notice of dispute setting out its position on its treatment in the country.
The AIM-traded firm claimed that its investment in the Petisovci field, which exceeded €50m to date, had been “damaged”.
It said the letter initiated a three-month cooling off period, beyond which the company would be able to initiate international arbitration proceedings under the Slovenian breaches of the UK-Slovenia Bilateral Investment Treaty, and the EU Energy Charter Treaty.
The company said on Thuesday that it has appointed an independent quantum expert, who was finalising their independent estimate of the total damages, which was expected “imminently”.
Following that, Ascent said it was initiating detailed discussions with specialist litigation financiers, some of which had already approached the company following the serving of the notice of dispute.
“The company notes the significant improvement in the Central European Gas Hub Index, which has rallied over the summer months to €11.6 per megawatt hour in September,” the board said in its statement.
“The CEGH futures out to the end of this year are currently trading higher than €13 per megawatt hour.
“At these levels the Petisovci project has the potential to be significantly cash generative.”
As it had previously announced, Ascent appointed an expert technical team to design the re-stimulation plans for the PG10 and PG11A wells, and draft a revised field development plan.
The outcome of that work was expected to be delivered by the end of September, and would likely form the basis of an environmental impact assessment submission.
Its board said Ascent’s executives would be in Slovenia later in the month, and were meeting key partners and other in-country stakeholders.
In Cuba, Ascent said it was continuing its dialogue with the Cuban National Oil Company (CUPET) over the existing identified asset portfolio, which consisted of onshore producing block 9B and onshore blocks 9A, 12 and 15.
The company said it had submitted its operator credentials, and was awaiting feedback from the qualification process, which was expected in due course.
Production sharing contract negotiations would be initiated early October, when the executives are next scheduled to be in Havana.
“Additionally, and building on the management team's access to Cuban deal flow, the company has been and continues to review opportunities in the battery metals mining space with Cuban state owned-and-backed counterparties.
“Cuba has the fifth largest nickel resource worldwide and the executive team see significant synergies in broadening its focus within Cuba.”
Finally, Ascent said it was continuing to pursue its previously-announced ‘special situations’ strategy.
“[We are] focusing on securing geographical diversity, commodity diversity and a pathway to significant revenue stream in the course of the next 12 months,” the board said.
At 1419 BST, shares in Ascent Resources were down 11.11% at 3p.