Prior to announcing the public bidding process for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, was the Government of the Republic of Croatia obliged to implement the EU Directive on safety of offshore oil and gas operations?
No. For all members of EU, there is a deadline for implementation of said Directive in its own legislation, which is July 19, 2015. This Directive does not prescribes rules for the licencing procedure. It applies on the manner of the conduction of certain operations in the sea.
Government of the Republic of Croatia has conducted first Offshore Licensing Round for Licences for the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons in accordance with the Act on the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons, complying with all provisions and deadlines of the above mentioned law.
EU Directive on safety of offshore oil and gas operations does not prescribe administrative procedure for public licensing process for offshore oil and gas activities. This matter is subject to Directive on the conditions for granting and using authorizations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons (94/22/EZ) which has been implemented in our legislation within the Act on the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons announcement (Official Gazette no. 94/13 and 14/14) and within the Mining Act (Official Gazette no. 56/13 and 14/14), so we can come to conclusion that all Decisions issued by the Government of Croatia are in compliance with law and EU directives.
The Republic of Croatia has been actively participating as a member of the Working Group for safety of offshore exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons since its founding in early 2014. Establishment of the Working Group has been regulated by the Directive 2013/30/EU. As a member of the Working Group, Republic of Croatia has been participating in preparation of Commission Implementing Regulation No. 1112/2014. Besides preparation of the Commision Implementing Regulation, said Working Group countinuously exchanges experience and in accordance with deadlines stipulated in Directive 2013/30/EC, the Group ensures the implementation of the Implementing Regulation into legislation of each Member State. Deadline for the above mentioned implementation is July 19th 2015, and with respect to that requirement, the Implementing Regulation shall be transposed into our legislation withing the Act on safety of offshore exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons.
Was the Government of the Republic of Croatia, prior to announcing the public bidding process for exploration and production of hydrocarbons, obliged to prepare the Management Strategy of the marine environment and coastal zone?
No. Methods and possibilities for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons are not connected in any way with the obligation for Management Strategy preparation.
Exploration and exploitation activities in the Adriatic have been intensively conducted for more than 40 years. Methods and possibilitis for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons have been stipulated by the Act on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons and they are not in any connection with the obligation for preparation of the Management Strategy of the marine environment and coastal zone, considering the fact that the latter is regulated by the provisions of Articles 55 and 56 of Environmental Protection Act (Official Gazette no. 80/2013).
Why has the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency made the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment after announcement of the licencing round, which is in contradiction with Croatian and EU laws and procedures?
Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment has been made by the author of the study, and not by the Agency. Strategic study has to be made before commencement of plan and programme activities, and not before licensing round announcement.
It is not correct to claim that the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency is the author of the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment, the author is a company which has got an authorization issued by the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection for the creation of strategic environmental impact studies with regard to plan and programme. Furthermore, in order to enable the Government of the Republic of Croatia to impose heavier limitations and to secure performance of the exploration and exploitation activities under the greatest care and protection, the Ministry of Economy has initiated a process of strategic environmental impact assessment.
Chronology of the issuing Decision on the content of Strategic studies is fully in compliance with regulations and with the provisions of European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/42/EC, on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programs on the environment, dated June 27th 2001. In The strategic the environmental assessment process, first thing is determination of the strategic study contents after the decision on developing the plan, pursuant to Article 4 and Article 7 of the Decree on strategic assessment. In the context of determining the contents, there has also been prescribed, as well as implemented, the obligation to inform the public and the obligation to provide public participation in the process, in accordance with Article 12 of the Regulation on information and participation of the public.
Why has the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment been prepared during inappropriate short period?
Period for preparation of Strategic study is not prescribed and it can not be stipulated.
Period for preparation of Strategic study is not prescribed and it can not be stipulated. At last, it does not even matter due to the fact that only thing which matters and which is evaluated includes wholeness and professional basis of the document, regardless of the period in which the document is made.
Why the Croatian Government has not communicated transparently project on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Adriatic?
For the first time, we have been publicly speaking about these activities, which have been performed for more than 40 years in the Adriatic.
Since the Act on exploration and exploitation of the hydrocarbons has been accepted by the Croatian Parliament, which has enabled to perform all activities prescribed in it, absolutely each and every step, including the Act itself, have been transparently communicated towards various government institutions, towards general public through the media, public consultations, conferences, meetings and towards investors interested in this project. During the last three years, since the Act on the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons has been implemented, we have provided communication towards general public on a daily basis, in order to introduce them with the project as well as with all steps taken during the project implementation. Although those activities have been performed for more than 40 years in Croatia, this kind of communication was not provided before.