Pursuant to Croatian regulations, economic activities are prohibited in areas protected in the category of a strict nature reserve. In areas protected under other categories, activities that do not degrade those features for which the area has been declared protected may be possible.
In Europe, there are certain protected areas where hydrocarbon production activities are permitted, though under very stringent protection conditions. One example is Wadden Sea, which is a national park in three countries (Denmark, Germany and Netherlands) and has also been inscribed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO 2009). Germany’s largest crude oil discovery is located at the southern edge of the national park. Since the beginning of production in 1987, 25 million tons of oil have been produced from reservoirs at depths of 2000–3000 meters. In this sensitive ecosystem, oil production has been conducted without any incidents to date. The characteristics of this project include technical innovation and a safety concept that combines high environmental standards and protection and is also a model for environmentally responsible oil production.
Oil platform in the Wadden sea
Wadden sea national park
A similar example is hydrocarbon production in Liverpool Bay near the shore. This is an area of high ecological sensitivity, where all activities have been performed virtually within the RAMSAR wetland and special protection area for birds (SPA). In addition to oil production, other activities include an onshore terminal and other infrastructure, including pipelines and vessels.
Liverpool bay – production of hydrocarbons within protected areas