Rockhopper Exploration announced that the stay of enforcement, which has prevented the company from pursuing legal action against Italy regarding a concession award, will soon be lifted. However, this will only happen once the relevant escrow arrangements are in place.
According to Rockhopper, the provisional stay of enforcement will come to an end five business days after the company submits the proposed escrow documentation to Italy. At that point, Italy will have the option to provide a reasoned written objection.
Importantly, Rockhopper clarified that this decision, made by a committee established by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, is not connected to the merits of Italy’s request for annulment. A final annulment hearing is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2024.
The dispute between Rockhopper and Italy began in 2017, following the Italian government’s decision not to grant the company a concession for the Ombrina Mare oil field. Last year, an arbitration panel ruled that Italy had violated its obligations under the energy charter treaty, resulting in a 190 million euro ($211.5 million) award in favor of Rockhopper. Subsequently, Italy applied for the annulment of the award and requested a provisional stay of its enforcement.