Croatia will continue to control all hydrocarbon exploration and production and will ensure implemention of the highest environmental standards and the latest technology.
Offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production has been ongoing in the Croatian Adriatic for the past fourty years. In fact, Croatian tourism and offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production have, since 1999, grown in harmony. Today there are nineteen natural gas production platforms near the coast of Istria. The Istria region receives the most tourists of any region in Croatia. Literally no one is aware of these production platforms nor will anyone be aware of any additional production platforms installed in the future under substantially restricter conditions than existed prior to 2014.
Successful co-existance of tourism and offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production is the norm in our neighbouring Adriatic Sea and Mediterranean Sea neighbours (Italy, Greece, Spain...), our EU partners (Germany, UK, Netherlands...) and globally. One prime United States example is the Santa Barbara region of California. Santa Barbara is a leading global tourism destination and has for decades had ongoing oil production from just three kilometers off the California mainland. California produces 7% of the United States oil production.
Croatia has adopted leading global exclusion zones and other mitigation measure to the extent that some of the offshore oil production that is ongoing of the coast of Santa Barbara and off the coast of Italy would not, for example, be possible in Croatia.
Tourism is and will remain Croatia's most important economic sector. The tourism sector has not been compromised until now by hydrocarbon exploration and production and it will not be compromised in the future. Within the new regulatory framework adopted in 2013, Croatia has introduced the highest standards of environmental protection and the highest level of investor responsibility. Environmental protection and investor responsibility are the main criteria to perform exploration and production operations, as provided by the Act on Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons.
Adriatic Sea is our the most valuable resource, and that is why the highest standards are included in all phases of the process – during public bidding process, licence issuing process and in future Production Sharing Agreements. Although not a single incident has been recorded so far, if it occurs, the cost of the rehabilitation shall be borne by investors.
Responsible management of natural resources leads to the achievement of balance between the need for energy independence and the necessity of preserving the natural heritage.