Zagreb, Croatia, 17th of June, 2015 – Study exempts areas of special ecological importance from onshore hydrocarbon exploration and production.
During the 8th of June public presentation on the Onshore Strategic Study for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production it was concluded that Croatia’s new regulatory framework will substantially improve the long standing and successful tradition of hydrocarbon exploitation in Croatia as well as spur economic development and energy independence while implementing the strictest environmental standards yet
The public presentation was held in Zagreb and was organized by the Ministry of Economy.
National parks, underwater reserves and nature parks including Kopački Rit Nature Park and Mura-Drava Regional Park have been excluded from the six exploration blocks that were available in Croatia’s 1st onshore license round. The Strategic Study also prescribed environmental protection measures that regulate activities in areas of special onshore ecological importance. As emphasized at the public presentation the primary interest for investors should be Health, Safety and Environment as investors will bear the full responsibility in the event of any incident.
The Strategic Study was presented by the following study leaders; Dr. Zlatko Pletikapić of Elektroprojekt d.d., Dr. Mirko Mesarić, director of IRES ekologija d.o.o. as well as by Dr. Josipa Velić and Dr. Nediljka Gaurina Međimurec, professors at the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, who all participated in the study design.
Barbara Dorić, President of the Management Board of the Croatian Hydrocarbons Agency, explained that the Strategic Study covers approximately 52,000 square kilometres of territory for which existing historical data on hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation is available. She stressed that this is a strong opportunity for the Croatian economy, particularly considering the fact that oil production in Croatia declined by 28.5 percent and gas production by 34.6 percent in the period from 2007 to 2013. ‘New investments will contribute to greater energy independence of Republic of Croatia, and this is also a tendency within the European Union, as the EU has emphasized the importance of reducing dependence on energy imports’, Dorić concluded.
Ms. Dorić also added that the exploration blocks offered in Croatia’s 1st onshore licence round contain proven oil and gas reserves, and the new regulatory framework ensures the application of the highest ecological standards. She stated that the annual net revenues for the State Budget, based on the probable hydrocarbon prospectivity, are estimated to be between HRK 3 and 6 billion kuna. She further explained that due to the new regulatory framework, benefits are ensured in the form of fees payable to the local communities where the activities take place, both for exploration and later for exploitation.
Ms. Dorić finally explained that the issued licenses are just the first step in the negotiation process. Following public hearing and approval of the final Strategic Study, the Production Sharing Agreements will be signed and investors will then be able to commence with their activities.
Dr. Mirko Mesarić, director of the company IRES ekologija d.o.o. and one of the authors of the Strategic Study, emphasized that the Study contains a separate chapter prescribed by the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection on the main evaluation of acceptability for the ecological network. ‘With respect to areas located within the Natura 2000 network, and for all other special importance areas, this study proposes a number of exceptions and limitations, which is consistent with the highest international standards’, he stated.
Academician Dr. Mirko Zelić, chairman of the Scientific Council for Oil and Gas in Croatia, agreed that this project will generate significant investments, as significant reserves of oil and gas can be expected in the exploration areas, as based on historical data. ‘This is not a new project in Croatia, we have a long history of experience and tradition, and we were the leading producers in Europe’, Zelić concluded, and adding that it is crucial that strict controls and rapid reactions of the competent authorities is ensured.
The full Strategic Study is available on the following websites www.mingo.hr and www.azu.hr. The public shall have the opportunity to the review the Strategic Study and Framework Plan and Program for Onshore Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production at the Croatian Hydrocarbons Agency, Miramarska cesta 24, 10000 Zagreb, on weekdays from 10 am to 3 pm during the entire public review period. On the public hearing opening date, all supporting documents will be available to the public on the Ministry website (www.mingo.hr) and the Agency website (www.azu.hr). All interested parties will be able to view onshore areas, both included in and exempted from activities, in the form of interactive maps https://azu.hr/en/interactive-maps/interactive-map-onshore/. The public review period and hearing will be held from 20 May to 20 June 2015.