At today’s session, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has reached a Decision on initiating the bidding procedure for granting licences for the onshore exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the area of the Dinarides.
Bidding for the granting of licences for the onshore exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the area of the Dinarides shall be implemented for four exploration blocks:
National parks and nature parks have been excluded from the exploration blocks, and the exploration blocks have been removed from the coastline and the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The following exclusion zones have been defined:
In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act (official gazette of the Republic of Croatia "Narodne novine", numbers 80/13 and 153/13) a Strategic Environmental Assessment has been performed, and pursuant to the measures and recommendations of this strategic assessment, and by virtue of the Decision on the Development of the Framework Plan and Programme for the Onshore Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons, on 13 August 2015 the Framework Plan and Programme for the Onshore Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons was adopted.
At each exploration block, the planning and execution of works for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons must be in compliance with the environmental protection restrictions and measures stipulated by the Framework Plan and Programme, as well as with the requirements and restrictions stipulated by the physical plans.
The initial stage of exploration is implemented in three phases. The first phase refers to the geological prospecting of the terrain, with which familiarisation with the terrain also commences. Geological experts will examine the terrain and take rock samples from the surface, which will later be used for laboratory tests. Paleontological, sedimentological, facies and stratigraphic analyses will be performed on the surface samples in a laboratory in order to gain a better understanding of the possible reservoir properties of the stratigraphic intervals that are of interest. Special tools will be used to "catch" underground gas, and geochemical analyses will be performed on this gas. Surface samples of petroleum, if found, will be taken for geochemical analysis.
The next stage involves aerial gravimetry and magnetometry – an exploration activity in which a plane is used to fly over the terrain and take gravimetric and magnetometric images of the underground area. The planes will be equipped with special imaging equipment and will be flying over the terrain at regular intervals in order to obtain an image of the underground area. Gravimetric exploration is able to identify anomalies in acceleration caused by the density between bodies in the underground area. In this manner, underground structures can be identified for the purpose of further exploration works.
The third and final phase involves seismic imaging. Imaging is performed in the manner of observing the movement of a seismic wave from its source on the surface to the geological elements in the underground area that it reflects from, tracing its return back to the receiver – geophone. Vibration trucks moving along defined routes are used as the source of the wave, and the noise they produce is lower than the noise of loaded trucks. The recorded data is then interpreted, and a geological model is drafted pursuant to which the potential deposit is defined, as well as the location of the exploration borehole.
In the area of the Dinarides, approximately 545.98 km of 2D seismic data has been recorded. Exploration of the area of the Dinarides, incited and encouraged by the appearance of petroleum outcrops and bituminous rock, commenced in the 1950s. Comprehensive and significant geological mapping was performed, as were detailed measurements of stratigraphic profiles. Geophysical measurements commenced in the 1940s with gravimetric measurements and continued in the 1950s. Seismic imaging commenced in 1957/58 (the first exploration borehole was created in 1959), and several holes showed potential with the appearance of petroleum and gas. All of the exploration was performed by INA d.d.
The local authorities are entitled to an occupancy fee which amounts to HRK 400 per km2 of occupied area. For exploration blocks granted in Slavonia by the first licensing round, over 17 million Croatian kuna has been paid into the budgets of local authorities since June 2016.
Companies also have to pay an administrative fee in the amount of HRK 600,000 per annum and, when and if exploitation occurs, they are also obliged to pay a fee on the obtained amounts at a rate of 10% of the value of the obtained hydrocarbons, as well as an exploration block fee in the amount of HRK 4,000 for each km2.