Rockhopper to resolve Ombrina Mare arbitration in July

Oil and gas company Rockhopper Exploration has received notice that a final decision in its arbitration against Italy over the Ombrina Mare Field in the Adriatic Sea could be made in July.

Source: Rockhopper

Rockhopper has been in arbitration over the field since 2017. In February 2016, Italy decided not to award the company a production concession covering the Ombrina Mare field due to the re-introduction of the ban on exploration and production activity within 12 nautical miles off the coast of Italy. Ombrina Mare is located within the 12-mile limit.

At the time, Rockhopper said that, based on legal and expert opinions, it had strong prospects of recovering very significant monetary damages as a result of the country’s breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Ombrina Mare is an appraisal/development project located off the Abruzzo, a region in Italy, in the shallow waters of the Central Adriatic.

Rockhopper was given a boost in late June 2019 after an international tribunal rejected Italy’s request for the suspension of the arbitration and Italy’s related intra-EU jurisdictional objections over the Ombrina Mare field.

Last week, the tribunal in charge of the arbitration told Rockhopper that it anticipates that it should be in a position to render its decision in July. The tribunal also said that it would inform the companies towards the end of June to confirm this timeframe.

Rockhopper’s opinion regarding the possible outcome of the arbitration has not changed since 2017. It added that it continues to believe it has strong prospects of recovering very significant monetary damages – based on lost profits – as a result of the Republic of Italy’s breaches of the energy charter treaty.

It is worth noting that all costs associated with the arbitration are funded on a non-recourse (no win – no fee) basis from a specialist arbitration funder.