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News 20 Apr 15

Croatian Greens Campaign Against Adriatic Oil Drilling

The country's green party, Sustainable Growth of Croatia, has launched a campaign against the government's plan to start drilling for oil in the Adriatic Sea.

Sven Milekic
Birn
Zagreb
The anti-drlling campaign. Photo: Facebook.

Sustainable Growth of Croatia, ORaH launched its campaign on Sunday under the banner “Say NO to Oil in the Adriatic, Say YES to sustainable growth”, hoping to prevent the start of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Adriatic Sea, which it considers environmentally risky.

The exploration process is set to begin in June when the Croatian government intends to sign contracts with energy companies.

The tender for off-shore exploration and exploitation was launched by the government in April 2014, and in January an independent committee awarded five companies in three consortiums ten licences for exploration.

But ORaH claims that Croatian government did not respect legal procedures for launching the project, saying that the feasibility study wqs flawed and there was not enough public debate on the project.

The party hopes to raise public awareness of the potential risks and build opposition through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and its website. It also released a promotional video clip highlighting support for its campaign from Croatian singer Davor Gobac and actors Judita Frankovic and Goran Navojec.

Seven exploration licences have been awarded to a consortium of US Marathon Oil and Austria's OMV, two to the Croatian-Hungarian firm INA and one to a consortium of Italy's ENI and British Medoilgas.

The licences are granted for two years, followed by a potential three-year extension, depending on the evaluation of exploration activities. After the five-year process is complete, an exploitation concession for 25 years may be granted.

Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak said in January that the five companies will. invest around 520 million euro in all, paying a total of 13 million euro upfront, upon the signing the contracts.

Vrdoljak has estimated that there are potentially three billion barrels of oil in the Adriatic. Some experts have backed his claim, while others have steered away from making assumptions.

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