Energy & environment

Most investor-state disputes (ISDS) have concerned environmental matters. Corporations are using the ISDS system found in trade and investment agreements to challenge environmental policies. As of end of 2019, 41% of all ICSID cases were energy and natural resources-related.

Most well-known cases include:

• Lone Pine Resources (US) vs. Canada: the investor challenged Quebec’s moratorium on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. The provincial government declared the moratorium in 2011 so as to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the extraction method widely accused of leaching chemicals and gases into groundwater and the air. Case pending (NAFTA invoked).

• Bilcon (US) vs. Canada: the US industry challenged Canadian environmental requirements affecting their plans to open a basalt quarry and a marine terminal in Nova Scotia. In 2015 the ISDS tribunal decided that the government’s decision hindered the investors’ expectations. Bilcon won and received US$7 million in damages, plus interest (NAFTA invoked).

• Vattenfall (Sweden) vs. Germany: in 2007 the Swedish energy corporation was granted a provisional permit to build a coal-fired power plant near the city of Hamburg. In an effort to protect the Elbe river from the waste waters dumped from the plant, environmental restrictions were added before the final approval of its construction. The investor initiated a dispute, arguing it would make the project unviable. The case was ultimately settled in 2011, with the city of Hamburg agreeing to the lowering of environmental standards (ECT invoked).

(March 2020)

Finance Uncovered | 21-Jan-2021
The battle between ConocoPhillips and Vietnam result could mark a significant shift in the way huge multinationals fight off the threat of taxes from desperate revenue authorities in developing countries.
Reuters | 19-Jan-2021
Alberta believes there was a “very solid” legal basis to seek damages under international free trade agreements if the pipeline is effectively killed, said Alberta Premier
Star Phoenix Group Ltd | 18-Jan-2021
Star Phoenix Group Ltd has formally notified the government of Georgia of the existence of an investment dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty.
AsiaPhos | 18-Jan-2021
AsiaPhos has been in discussion with the Chinese Government (since November 2017) for a settlement in relation to the cessation of the mining activities because of the Panda Park.
CIAR Global | 15-Jan-2021
Crystallex ha obtenido el visto bueno de un juzgado de los Estados Unidos para proceder con la venta de las acciones de Citgo, la subsidiaria estadounidense de Petróleos de Venezuela SA (Pdvsa).
TRT | 11-Jan-2021
The Investor-State Dispute Settlement process has gone against developing countries for far too long.
Yahoo | 11-Jan-2021
Montero has completed a litigation funding agreement with Omni Bridgeway Canada Limited, an affiliate of the litigation funder.
The International News | 11-Jan-2021
The High Court of Justice in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has postponed the hearing on the enforcement of the $6 billion award in the Reko Diq case until the 18th January.
Exit News | 7-Jan-2021
Italian businessmen Francesco Becchetti has stepped up his attempt to get the compensation awarded to him in international arbitration against Albania that he won, but that is under appeal.
L’Echo | 6-Jan-2021
Un conflit judiciaire entre un homme d’affaires italien et la République d’Albanie vient de déboucher sur des saisies effectuées sur des redevances dues par Eurocontrol à l’Albanie.

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