Rockhopper has been given a boost after an international tribunal rejected Italy’s request for the suspension of the arbitration initiated by the oil company against Italy related to its Ombrina Mare field in the Adriatic Sea.
The company started international arbitration proceedings against Italy in relation to the offshore Ombrina Mare project back in 2017, following the decision in February 2016 by the Ministry of Economic Development not to award the company a production concession covering the Ombrina Mare field.
The Ombrina Mare is an appraisal/development project located off the Abruzzo, a region in Italy, in the shallow waters of the Central Adriatic.
The decision not to award the concession to Rockhopper followed the re-introduction of the ban on exploration and production activity within 12 nautical miles of the coast of Italy in January 2016. Ombrina Mare is located within the 12-mile limit.
Rockhopper Exploration on Thursday said that the tribunal had rejected Italy’s request for the suspension of the arbitration and Italy’s related intra-EU jurisdictional objections.
The oil company then said it was expected that further post-hearing briefings would be submitted.
“Rockhopper continues to believe it has strong prospects of recovering very significant monetary damages – on the basis of lost profits – as a result of the Republic of Italy’s breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty,”the company added.
All costs associated with the arbitration are funded on a non-recourse (no win – no fee) basis from a specialist arbitration funder.
Sam Moody, CEO of Rockhopper, said: “This decision represents an important step in the wider arbitration process. While much is still to be done, we remain positive on the prospects of the claim and look forward to an outcome in early 2020.”
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