Ascent Resources slams Slovenian fracturing restrictions

Natural Gas World | 16 March 2022

Ascent Resources slams Slovenian fracturing restrictions

by: Callum Cyrus

Onshore E&P company Ascent Resources upped the ante March 16 on its legal challenge over being barred from drilling hydraulically-fractured wells in Slovenia’s Petisovci gas field.

The company was denied a fracturing permit but made a claim against Slovenia in July 2020 under the Energy Charter Treaty and UK-Slovenia Bilateral Investment Treaty.

It now says legislators are amending Slovenia’s mining law to further restrict "all forms of hydraulic stimulation", and this could increase damages it is due under its claim. It argues its "joint venture has always expected to be able to continue the historic practice of conducting low volume mechanical stimulation techniques."

Ascent invested around €50mn to bring Petisovci into production and says the project will now benefit from global gas price rises even without increased production from the hydraulically-fractured wells.

Petisovci currently has two production wells, Pg-10 and Pg-11A, the latter of which was sidetracked for technical reasons. Ascent plans to ramp up production by re-entering and deepening nine existing wells, and building a new processing plant for injecting gas into the Slovenian gas grid.

Ascent’s monthly production share at Petisovci is predicted to be at least €150,000, given the average monthly gas price of €120/MWh, which is up 50% on Ascent’s projections on October 11. The company had allowed revenues to accrue on Petisovci’s joint venture account while the legal dispute was resolved, but has decided to invoice its revenue share from April 2020 to February 2022. Ascent has 75% in Petisovci and serves as operator, with its partner Geoenergo holding 25%.