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)

Ouest France | 23-Jul-2021
Dénonçant une "expropriation", Gabriel Resources a saisi en 2015 la juridiction d’arbitrage international de la Banque mondiale (Cirdi) et réclamé 4,4 milliards de dollars de dédommagements à la Roumanie.
France 24 | 23-Jul-2021
Meanwhile, Gabriel Resources has taken Romania before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, seeking $4.4 billion (3.7 billion euros) in damages.
CIAR Global | 20-Jul-2021
La Comisión Europea va a examinar con detenimiento si el laudo del arbitraje del fondo Antin contra España se ajusta a las normas de la Unión Europea en materia de ayudas estatales.
European Commission | 20-Jul-2021
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation in order to assess whether an arbitration award, to be paid by Spain in favour of Antin, is in line with EU rules on State aid.
Derecho Internacional | 16-Jul-2021
El pasado 4 de junio del 2021, fue dado a conocer el laudo arbitral de un tribunal del CIADI, el cual pone un punto final a la demanda interpuesta en febrero del 2014 por la empresa minera canadiense Infinito Gold contra Costa Rica.
Kluwer Arbitration Blog | 12-Jul-2021
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs initiated “anti-arbitration” proceedings before the German courts to “avert” two ECT-based ICSID arbitrations brought against it by the German energy companies RWE and Uniper.
L’Humanité | 9-Jul-2021
Alors qu’a lieu un nouveau round de négociation pour « moderniser » le Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, 400 organisations de la société civile lancent un ultimatum pour sortir au plus vite de cet accord.
L’Echo | 8-Jul-2021
Un litige portant sur une raffinerie de pétrole et de gaz au Kazakhstan a amené à la justice belge à geler plus d’un demi-milliard d’euros de cette république sur un compte belge.
Le Figaro | 8-Jul-2021
Cairn Energy a affirmé avoir obtenu le droit de «geler» des biens immobiliers appartenant à l’Inde et situés à Paris, dans sa dernière tentative de récupérer 1,7 milliard de dollars qu’elle estime lui être dus par New Delhi.
The Tribune | 8-Jul-2021
The centrally located properties mostly comprise flats, valued at more than EUR 20 million, used by the Indian government establishment in France.

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