News 18 Jun 14

Croatia Seeks to Boost Oil and Gas Extraction

Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak said that Croatia needed to exploit potential oil and gas resources in the Adriatic Sea and on shore in order to increase supply and aid economic recovery.

Josip Ivanovic
BIRN
Zagreb

Vrdoljak told an energy conference in Zagreb on Tuesday that Croatia was preparing an international tender for onshore gas and oil exploration in addition to its current open tender for offshore exploration in the Adriatic Sea.

“There are 40 companies interested in the Adriatic seabed. By September, a lot of other prominent oil companies will come to Croatia,” he said.

Although no details of potentialbidders have yet been revealed, Reuters news agency quoted local media as saying that some of the foreign companies interested in Croatia’s energy resources could be Gazprom and Lukoil from Russia, Exxon from the US, France's Total and Germany's RWE.

Vrdoljak said that the new tender would be for onshore exploitation in the Drava and Sava river basins in central Croatia, while the Dinaric Alps area also had the “potential for exploitation”.

However he also expressed concerns that the Ukrainian crisis could cause gas supply disruptions.

“Our region is also endangered in the long term, and we need to secure supply to all households... We need to look broader than Croatia, and to direct our help and our new supply routes in a way that benefits our neighbours,” he added.

He stressed meanwhile that it was crucial for Croatia to regain management rights over the INA oil company, which were sold to the Hungarian oil company MOL in disputed circumstances which led to convictions in Croatia.

“Our production has to grow. The competitiveness of our oil refineries has to be on a much higher level, otherwise we lose the chance of development,” he concluded.

Reuters has estimated that Croatia supplies 60 to 65 per cent of its own gas needs and around 70 per cent of electricity consumption from its own production.

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