Sempra Energy awarded $172 million in Argentine arbitration

CNN Money | 2 October 2007

Sempra Energy Awarded $172 Million in Argentine Arbitration

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C., has awarded Sempra Energy approximately $172 million, including interest, to settle a 2002 dispute involving the company’s 43-percent ownership in two Argentine natural gas holding companies, Sodigas Pampeana and Sodigas Sur.

"We are pleased that, after several years, this arbitration case has been decided in our favor," said Javade Chaudhri, executive vice president and general counsel for Sempra Energy. "We hope that the government of Argentina will honor its legal obligations as we seek immediate enforcement of the award."

The dispute involved Sempra Energy’s efforts to recover the utilities’ diminution in value that occurred as a result of measures taken by the Argentine government in early 2002.

The Sept. 28, 2007 award involved arbitration proceedings under the 1994 Bilateral Investment Treaty between the United States and Argentina.

The Sodigas companies control Camuzzi Gas Pampeana S.A. and Camuzzi Gas del Sur S.A., together the largest natural gas distributor in Argentina, servicing about 45 percent of the country. They supply gas to 1.5 million customers through a gas transportation-and-distribution pipeline system.

The ICSID is an autonomous international organization with close links with the World Bank. All of ICSID’s members are also members of the bank. The ICSID provides facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of disputes between member countries and its investors. Recourse to ICSID conciliation and arbitration is entirely voluntary. However, once the parties have consented to arbitration under the ICSID Convention, neither can unilaterally withdraw its consent. Moreover, all ICSID Contracting States, whether or not parties to the dispute, are required to recognize and enforce ICSID awards as if it were a final judgment of that country’s courts.

Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2006 revenues of nearly $12 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ 14,000 employees serve more than 29 million consumers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America and Asia.

Fuente: CNN