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).

Photo: Kris Krug / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(March 2020)

Al Jazeera | 3-Aug-2021
Corporate courts were invented to protect the West’s control of the world against decolonisation. They are now undermining attempts to halt climate change.
CIAR Global | 30-Jul-2021
La compañía petrolera Perenco ha llegado a un acuerdo con Ecuador en las negociaciones por el pago del laudo de 435 millones de dólares en el marco de la larga disputa sobre la asignación de los beneficios de dos contratos de participación, que datan de 2002, a raíz de la adopción de legislación, por parte de Ecuador, que modificó la participación que Perenco recibía en virtud de varios Contratos de Hidrocarburos en la Región Amazónica Ecuatoriana.
Capital Monitor | 30-Jul-2021
The Energy Charter Treaty, which gives oil and gas companies a route to suing governments, is increasingly hindering climate policy reform, say campaigners. And it is not the only agreement of its type.
TASS | 30-Jul-2021
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office stressed that Russia’s well-founded position had made it possible to reject most of requirements made by Yukos Capital.
Bloomberg | 30-Jul-2021
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Russia illegally expropriated loans provided by Yukos Capital Sarl to its former parent company.
Swiss Info | 28-Jul-2021
La Unesco declaró hoy la antigua mina romana de Rosia Montana, en Rumanía, Patrimonio Mundial de la Humanidad, una decisión que cierra la puerta a la explotación de las toneladas de minerales preciosos que hacen del subsuelo de la zona la mayor reserva de oro de Europa.
Mint | 28-Jul-2021
The government confirmed that a French court has ordered the freezing of certain Indian assets on a petition by Britain’s Cairn Energy, which is seeking to recover USD 1.72 billion arbitration award.
Balkan Insight | 28-Jul-2021
The derailment of the plans led Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources to sue the Romanian government for $5.7 billion before the Washington-based ICSID.
GEO | 28-Jul-2021
Une compagnie canadienne, Gabriel Resources, avait demandé en 2015 un arbitrage international et réclamé 4,4 milliards de dollars de dédommagements à la Roumanie.
Market Screener | 27-Jul-2021
Indiana Resources files a memorial on the arbitration with Tanzania over the expropriation of the Ntaka Hill Nickel Project, whereby it claims the amount of AU$127 million, including interest which continues to accrue.

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