LNG Should Be Built on Goli Otok Instead on Krk

Total Croatia News

A new proposal for the location of the long-delayed LNG terminal in Croatia.

The terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) near Omišalj on the island of Krk would be detrimental to the economic development of the Kvarner region, and not just for the reasons which are commonly mentioned in public debates, but also because Rijeka and its surroundings would be left without valuable space for further development of clean and non-hazardous marine-related industries, reports Večernji List on March 8, 2018.

The Rijeka area has already covered all the free space, especially on the coast, to spread industry and commerce. The northern part of the nearby island of Krk, where there is now a bankrupt petrochemical complex, together with the airport, is the last remaining free area. If the LNG terminal were to be located there, whether a floating or a land terminal, it would take up some 300 to 400 hectares of surrounding land, which would then become unusable for anything else.

Therefore, the problem is not just that the LNG terminal could scare away tourists in Omišalj, Njivice or Malinska, which cannot be ruled out, but it is utterly inconceivable that a container terminal or an industrial and commercial zone could ever be located in its vicinity. According to US assessments, an LNG terminal represents an immediate threat to everything within a two-kilometre radius around it, with some of the houses in Omišalj on the very edge of that circle.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that an LNG terminal is needed to Croatia and this part of Europe, and that Kvarner is the location where it could get the closest to potential buyers of gas. What is the best solution then? If residents of Kvarner rightly fear that tourism could be endangered, then the gas terminal should be located at the place which would benefit the tourism development in Kvarner. In other words, somewhere where it would not put local population or tourists in danger.

If you look at the map of the northern Adriatic with this idea in mind, your eyes are drawn to the island of Goli Otok, more precisely to its southwest coastline protected from the wind, which already has a dock and abandoned buildings of the prison which used to be located there many decades ago. The island is ideally situated, in the centre of the northern Adriatic archipelago, with good access for large ships, with great depth and amount of sea water around. Importantly, there are no people living there. That is the place where a land-based or a floating LNG terminal could easily be built.

It would not be seen from any town, and the nearest Lopar on the island of Rab is five kilometres away. The terminal could easily be connected to the Croatian gas network. Also, the islands of Rab, Lošinj, Cres and Krk, and the coast from Karlobag to Kraljevica could get their own local gas networks. For further development of tourism on the Kvarner islands and in the coastal areas, it is necessary to extend the season, and for this, you need to heat the hotels, apartments, swimming pools, recreational facilities and sports halls.

The LNG terminal on Goli Otok would make all this possible, while on Krk it would just serve the geopolitical competition between global powers, bringing to the Kvarner region mostly danger and financial damage.

Translated from Večernji List (written by Ratko Bošković).


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