Adriatic Drilling, a Turning Point? Marathon and OMV Pull Out

Total Croatia News

Austrian-American consortium Marathon Oil and OMV have pulled out of plans to drill in the Adriatic, citing border uncertainties in Montenegro.

Campaigners to save the Adriatic from oil drilling were celebrating a small victory on July 29, 2015, as American-Austrian consortium Marathon Oil and OMV have decided against pursuing plans for drilling in the Adriatic, citing possible problems with a border dispute with Montenegro. The consortium has been granted 7 out of the 10 licences. 

One of the most vocal opponents of Adriatic drilling, the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance (CASA) posted the news on its Facebook page, with this message:

“The consortium of Marathon Oil and OMV have dropped their plans of exploration and production of oil and gas in the Adriatic Sea, reports RTL.

“They do not want to sign the contract with the Croatian government due to the unresolved border dispute between Croatia and Montenegro.

“These two companies had so far invested $10 million dollars and had a permit for research into seven sections. *** The Agency for Hydrocarbons has announced a new tender for this fall, and added that they are confident that they will get better deals.

“We fight on!”

TCN contacted both CASA and the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency (AZU) for a reaction. The CASA response will be published here as and when it arrives, and two statements from AZU in the form of comments by Minister of Economy, Ivan Vrdoljak and Chairman of the Board of the Agency for hydrocarbons, Barbara Dorić were as follows:

“Taking all the risks, as well as the interests in the subject of exploration areas into consideration, we could not have accepted the conditions set by the other party of the agreement as we have estimated that the state would have greater benefits in case of the second public tender of exploratory areas. It is true that the main cause of withdrawal was the question of the border with Montenegro. The security we offered was not sufficient guarantee for the other party at the time when the problem in the arbitration process with Slovenia occurred” – said the Minister of Economy, Ivan Vrdoljak.

“The project goes on as planned, we expect the signing of the treaty for offshore as well as for the onshore exploration at the beginning of September. From the first day the project had very strong interests from the major international companies. That interests still continue and are confirmed by the daily inquiries about possible terms of calling another public tender. Due to the great interest that were shown for the remaining exploration areas, both offshore and onshore, we plan to open a second public tender for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons at sea and on land, after the signing of the first contract in late September” – said the Chairman of the Board of the Agency for hydrocarbons, Barbara Dorić.


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