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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Croatia Awards 10 Adriatic Licences For Oil & Gas Exploration

I like expressing opinions about subjects like this once in a while, to show that this blog is more than just about just food, music, fashion, art or sports. This topic has been in the news for for a while, the last year especially, now I'm not some big-wig oil and gas company executive or own hotels or resorts along the Croatian coast, but I thought now would be a perfect time to quickly thrown in my own personal opinion. I'm not going to bore you with all the numbers, details and exploration scientific data and statististics, but I will say that this is good news and a positive step that needs to be taken. Of course there are those who will disagree, mainly some local environmental groups, that's their opinion and they are free to express it, but here's why I think this is a positive step for not just Croatia, but for the region and for all of Europe.

I of course also support wildlife and nature conservation btw, protecting natural resources, forests, animals, lakes, the Adriatic sea, and the fishies, dolphins, shrimp and lobsters that can be found in it, heck I'm even for letting seagulls and pigeons live. (See previous post bears-wolves-of-croatia-conservation). However, let's look at some facts not much discussed about this particular subject...

Firstly, there are already oil platforms drilling for oil in the area right now. Italy has been doing oil platform drilling and making oil money for years, and the Izabela project which has been running since 2009, it's located in their territorial waters and partially in Croatian territorial waters, right between Venice and the Croatian town of Pula (see video at bottom). I haven't heard or read a peep about an environmental group protesting Italian platform drilling, and there haven't been any floating dolphins, fish or oil covered seagulls in the news at all.

Secondly, Montenegro is in the process of granting oil and gas exploration licenses, and Albania already is well underway to licensing offshore blocks as well. Greece has already been operating offshore oil platforms around some of their islands for years also, with more platform drilling on the way, so Croatia is not some new greedy anti-nature boogyman on the block intent on poisoning the Adriatic sea or the sea life, not in the least. (I should also add, that Croatia, Poland and Greece are also taking part in other ventures to ensure a reliable supply of gas to those countries)

According to the data and figures, in the very near future Croatia will become 100%s self-sufficient for it's oil and gas needs because of these Adriatic deposits, with plenty left over to ship off to other European Union countries. (It's been estimated that the seabed deposits will produce between 5-8 times the gas and oil that the whole country uses in a year) These platform projects will make Croatia an important energy hub and supplier for the whole of Europe. (Croatia covers about 65% of it's needs currently) All this will mean more bucks, many millions of more Euros, to state coffers for various other programs. It will mean not being dependent on importing oil/gas and foreign oil industry markets. Those funds can then be used for various other important projects and towards the national economy. (Maybe even a portion can be allotted to the Croatian Armed Forces, towards new jet fighters down the road, various new ships, Coast Guard patrol ships and helicopters etc, maybe even buying some nukes would be a good idea. I have some acquaintances who can get us a good deal on some variable yield SSM's and SAM's. Perhaps even build a humongous statue of King Krešimir or King Tomislav overlooking the city of Split, exampleexample)

As for the information and images I saw in a couple of the environmental group articles, it was a very, and I mean a very, erroneous portrayal of the facts, using photoshop to exaggerate the realities. I'm all for expressing opinions and viewpoints, but if you're going to be at the beach or restaurant by the water, you're not going to see what the images imply. The future drilling platforms actually won't be anywhere near the Croatian coast. (See erroneous examples below) The platforms won't be anywhere near those picturesque and tourist hotspots or coastal town and city homes.

For instance, have you ever see those tourist images of Mexican coastal locations in various magazines and advertisements?..well guess what, there are plenty of floating oil platforms off in the distance that you don't see. They're there right now and have been for years, some of you may have not even known that if I didn't just tell you. In the Gulf of Mexico along the southern American coast, ditto. You would actually have to take a few hours boat ride before coming upon a floating oil platform in the Croatian waters, so you won't even know that they're out there let alone see one. Numerous studies have and are going on, and the safest guidelines will be followed for prevention of accidents and to make sure the Adriatic is not a dumping ground, because nobody wants that. So that explains that. Besides, there are plenty of other important causes they can choose from to pursue manufacturing slave labour, sweatshops, child labour, littering, containing leprosy and other communicable diseases from spreading, putting a stop to overpopulation and illegal migration, contraband illegal dvd and cd importing, the cutting down of rain forests, poaching, cruel industrial animal farming, demanding more equitable and fair nuclear proliferation access, blatant Indian mercury dumping, saving various endangered bat populations from extinction (grey-headed flying fox, alpine long-eared bat, etc), more readily available and affordable internet service, preventing the spread of illegal counterfeit consumer goods, sound pollution, producing only green biodegradable cloth diapers instead of plastic diapers which release dangerous toxins, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls into the environment and atmosphere, preventing forest fires, etc. Anyway, that's my opinion and so now you know.......

(If you need the numbers and official data, see pdf of the Croatian Ministry of Economy presented details of the licensing round at Spectrum’s Frontier Seminars in London and Houston in October 2013 HERE)


The purple lines represent the 2013 Spectrum seismic survey and the orange polygons are the radar scenes extracted from the Airbus Defence and Space Global Seeps database. Selected analysis was also made in Italian waters. Red areas are verified gas fields. According to the preliminary data, gas reserves are more likely to be found in the north while crude deposits are expected in the southern part of Croatia's Adriatic, where the seabed is deeper. Prognosis? black gold, Texas tea, Croatian čaj...Crno med...Hrvatski sirup. 


* OMV, Marathon Oil consortium wins seven licences

* Croatia hopes exploration will help drive growth (Updates with quotes, details)

Jan 2 (Reuters) - A consortium of Houston-based Marathon Oil and Austria's OMV won seven of 10 licences awarded on Friday to explore for oil and gas off Croatia's Adriatic coast, part of a bid by the country to become a regional energy hub.

Two licences went to INA, which is owned by the Croatian government and Hungary's MOL, and one was awarded to a consortium made up of Italy's ENI and London-based Medoilgas.

"This interest from investors shows that we have potential," Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak told reporters. "It's important to know that there are no new sources of oil and gas in this part of Europe, south-east Europe, other than in Croatia."

The exploration licences are granted for a period of five years and the government set an April 2 deadline for the signing of exploration agreements with the winning bidders.

Croatia, which joined the European Union in July 2013, has been in recession since 2009 and hopes Adriatic oil and gas can help drive economic growth. The government says it expects investment worth some $2.5 billion from exploration over the next five years.

The tender, which ran for seven months, comprised 29 block areas for exploration and future exploitation, eight in the north and 21 in central and southern Adriatic. The size of each block ranges from 1,000 to 1,600 square kilometres.

According to preliminary data, gas reserves are more likely to be found in the north while crude deposits are expected in the southern part of Croatia's Adriatic where the seabed is deeper.

Local environment groups say oil drilling could harm the Adriatic and Croatia's lucrative tourism industry.

"A strategic study on the environmental impact will be completed before the agreements are signed," Barbara Doric, head of the national hydrocarbon agency, told reporters.

Croatia currently covers about 65 percent of its annual gas consumption of 3 billion cubic metres from its own offshore fields. It hopes to be able to meet its entire domestic demand helped by the new exploration efforts.

The country is also running an international tender for onshore oil and gas exploration which expires in February and has revived plans to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal on the island of Krk

Awarded companies will now have until Apr. 2 to sign their exploration and exploitation agreements, said the President of the Management Board of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, Barbara Dorić.

The contracts are expected to include 5-year concessions to explore, and 25-year concessions to exploit.

According to the latest data available on the website of Croatia's energy regulatory agency, HERA, a total of 28.7 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of gas were delivered to the market in 2013 with domestic production contributing 13.1 billion kWh.

Croatia awards offshore licenses


MILAN, Italy, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni and its partners at Rockhopper Exploration said Monday they were among the first to win licenses for work off the coast of Croatia.

Rockhopper Chief Executive Sam Moody said in a statement he was pleased to partner with a company like Eni, which has a legacy of operations in Croatia reaching back to the 1980s.

"This represents an outstanding low cost opportunity to increase our acreage position in an area with proven hydrocarbons," he said.

Croatia has an estimated 71 million barrels of proven oil reserves, producing around 11,900 barrels of oil per day as of 2013. Natural gas reserves are estimated at 800 billion cubic feet, with production at around 65 billion cubic feet per day.

Eni said it's the leading producer in Croatia, with equity production of around 39 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Croatia offered companies the rights to explore for reserves using production sharing contracts with a five-year exploration phase and a 25-year production phase. When announcing the terms of the auction last year, the government said the company has an established production record, through much of the offshore sector remains highly under explored.

The government touts access to an oil pipeline system near the European market and plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal, which it said will establish the country as a key energy hub for the region.

What you WON'T see at all after any new oil platforms are constructed... 

Fictionalized photoshop portrayal of a view from the town of Opatija if any platforms are erected in the Adriatic sea. 

Another exaggerated erroneous portrayal of a view from the town of Dubrovnik, I very highly doubt they'll erect offshore platforms this close to the shore.

What you WILL still see and probably more of...

Probably much more scenes like these. Image: (Interesting blog worth checking out)

More information about the already running since 2010 Izabela field platform, a joint Italian-Croatian project in the north Adriatic. More information:

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