Widening Opposition Further Delays Off-Shore Hydrocarbon Exploration
On 2 January 2015, the government awarded 10 licences for 10 exploration areas in the Croatian Adriatic (see LPJ 115). Barbara Doric, President of the Management Board of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency (AZU), stated, at the time, that exploration agreements would be signed in April.
After a 30-day public debate on the project’s environmental impact study was concluded on 16 February, the Economy Ministry said they had received over 2,600 formal complaints and suggestions (see LPJ 121). In March, Doric said they had postponed the signing of the agreements, due to the requests by neighbouring countries (i.e. Slovenia, Italy and Montenegro) to be included in the cross-border consultations on the study. Croatia is not obliged to include these opinions.
Last week, Slovenian media reported that over 10,500 Slovenian citizens had signed the petition “SOS for the Adriatic Sea – Stop Oil Drilling in the Adriatic – Protect Our Shared Sea”. Local NGOs managing the petition signing process said the announced oil and gas exploration carried high risks for the environment and local communities. Slovenia’s Environmental Protection Minister, Irena Majcen, said Slovenia could likely be against the project, if they determined that it would be detrimental for Slovenia’s environment…