Slovenia imposes blanket ban on fracking

Euractiv | 7 April 2022

Slovenia imposes blanket ban on fracking

By Sebastijan R. Maček

The Slovenian parliament has imposed a blanket ban on hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas as MPs voted unanimously yesterday in favour of amendments to the mining act.

This was the sixth attempt by the National Assembly to pass such a ban after it failed to endorse similar past proposals by the opposition, which has long sought to thwart plans by UK investor Ascent Resources to extract gas through hydraulic fracturing in Petišovci in the north-east of the country.

The original amendments put forward by the government proposed to ban only high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Still, a complete ban was added through an amendment tabled by the ruling coalition and endorsed in the parliamentary procedure.

The Left, an opposition party, had unsuccessfully sought to include a wording saying that the ban on fracking was a strong public interest that would protect the state against a potential lawsuit by Ascent Resources.

Last year Ascent Resources initiated arbitration proceedings against the Slovenian state under the UK-Slovenia Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty. It seeks €100 million in damages.

In mid-March, before the blanket ban on fracking was added to the bill, the company said the additional restrictions “further reinforced its claim” against the Republic of Slovenia, given that the joint venture has always expected to be able to continue the “historic practice of conducting low volume mechanical stimulation techniques in order to flow the tight gas reservoir.”

source: Euractiv