Energy & environment

Most investor-state disputes (ISDS) have concerned environmental matters. As of end of 2014, about 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. Bilcon won – damages still pending (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).

(October 2015)

Reuters | 17-May-2017
U.S. oil firm Cobalt said it had filed requests for arbitration seeking more than $2 billion from Angola’s state-run Sonangol.
Ecofin | 17-May-2017
Cobalt Energy a annoncé avoir déposé une demande d’arbitrage international dans laquelle il réclame 2 milliards de dollars au gouvernement angolais.
Le Monde De l’Energie | 9-May-2017
Le tribunal arbitral de la Banque mondiale a condamné l’Espagne à indemniser un fonds britannique s’estimant lésé par la chute des subventions au secteur des énergies renouvelables.
Lexology | 9-May-2017
An International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Committee has annulled nearly 90% of the US$1.6 billion Award which had been won by ExxonMobil affiliates in their ICSID arbitration against Venezuela.
El País | 9-May-2017
Spain has lost its first international arbitration process over cuts to renewable energy subsidies
Reuters | 9-May-2017
El tribunal de arbitraje del Banco Mundial ha resuelto en contra de los intereses de España la primera de la treintena de demandas de inversores internacionales por los recortes a la retribución de las energías renovables practicados en las dos legislaturas anteriores, reconoció el viernes el Gobierno español.
El País | 5-May-2017
El Gobierno estudia recurrir la sentencia, que obliga al Reino de España al pago de 128 millones.
The Hill | 5-May-2017
The lack of a defined procedure under the AUSFTA is extremely prejudicial to U.S. companies and banks: chairman of APR Energy
Mondaq | 5-May-2017
A federal district court in Washington, D.C. recently confirmed a $1.2 billion arbitral award in favor of Crystallex International Corp
Sidney Morning Herald | 2-May-2017
US mining company Nucoil is using a free trade agreement to put pressure on the Australian government to pay compensation over cancelled licences.

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