Harken 'disappointed' in Costa Rican court challenge

Harken Energy Corp., Houston, said it would "vigorously defend its rights" following a recent ruling by Costa Rica's Supreme Court in a concession contract case. Harken said it was unable to take part in the proceedings because it wasn't notified of them in advance.


Harken Energy Corp., Houston, said it would "vigorously defend its rights" after a recent ruling by Costa Rica's Supreme Court in a concession contract case. Harken said it was unable to take part in the proceedings because it wasn't notified of them in advance.

The preliminary ruling challenges the original bid award of the 1.4 million acre concession contract to MKJ Xploration Inc. of Metairie, La. Harken acquired rights to an 80% interest in the project in November of 1998 from MKJ (OGJ, Aug. 30, 1999, p.101). Harken then received a government-approved assignment of the contract from MKJ in June 2000 to Harken Costa Rica Holdings LLC, Harken's 80%-owned subsidiary.

But the native people living in the concession region have challenged the award, saying they weren't adequately consulted before the government awarded the land. The ruling attempts to set aside the original award and requires the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy to consult with indigenous groups regarding its activities.

Harken said it has already filed a motion for relief, citing lack of judicial due process in the action.

Harken Chairman Mikel D. Faulkner said the company is disappointed by the court's action. "We intend to diligently work to protect our interest in the contract, but the outcome of our efforts is impossible to predict," Faulkner added. "This action by the courts obviously puts our activities on hold in the country as we seek to get a fair resolution to the dispute."

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