Following Gas Discovery, Canadians Get Green Light to Drill in Petlovac

Lauren Simmonds

As Vedran Marjanovic/Novac writes on the 6th of August, 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has issued a decision according to which the Canadian company Vermilion can start exploring for oil and gas in the municipality of Petlovac in Baranja.

In March this year, Vermilion sent a request to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which was annexed to the Ministry of Economy by a recent government reform, to conduct an environmental assessment procedure on the need to assess the environmental impact of the Novo Nevesinje-1 exploration well in the Petlovac municipality in Eastern Croatia.

The aforementioned decision of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development states that Vermilion isn’t obliged to carry out an environmental impact assessment procedure of the project on the exploration well Novo Nevesinje-1.

”The project is acceptable for the ecological network and it isn’t necessary to carry out an environmental impact assessment procedure,” stated the Directorate for Nature Protection of the competent Ministry in reference to the area in question in Petlovac.

The decision of the Ministry states that the need to implement the environmental impact assessment procedure for the Novo Nevesinje-1 well was expressed by the Administrative Department for Physical Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection of Osijek-Baranja County. On the other hand, according to the same source, the municipality of Petlovac submitted their position on the same occasion, which claimed that the project on the planned well is not expected to have a significant impact on the environment.

In its request to the Ministry, Vermilion stated, among other things, that it needed 1.2 hectares of space for the exploration well of Novo Nevesinje-1, and that the planned depth of the well was 1105 metres. According to the same source, the well is 1.3 kilometres away from the nearest settlement.

Novo Nevesinje-1 is located within the Drava-04 exploration field for which Vermilion received a Government permit back in June 2015. On the same occasion, the Government issued permits to Vermilion for three more exploration fields, Sava 8,9 and 10.

In August last year, Vermilion also received a permit for the Sava 7 exploration field. In total, the Canadian company was approved to explore two million and 350 thousand hectares in five exploration fields, making it the largest oil and gas explorer in the country. The first exploratory wells in the mentioned fields were drilled by Vermilion in June last year in Vukovar-Srijem County at the Ceric and Berak locations. On the Berak well in the Tompojevci municipality, as has since been learned from the mayor Zdravko Zvonaric, sufficient quantities of gas have been confirmed and the Vermilion well has been sealed until the construction of a gas pipeline that would connect the field to the network.

”We’re currently in the process of changing the urban plan of the municipality in order to start with the construction of the gas pipeline from the Berak field to Stari Jankovci. In addition, Vermilion has expressed its intention to build another well in the municipality of Tompojevci, this investment would have already been approached if this whole situation with the coronavirus hadn’t occurred,” the mayor of Tompojevci stated. Zvonaric pointed out that the experiences of the municipal administration with the aforementioned Canadian company are very positive, among other things, he added, Vermilion paid a donation for the construction of a children’s playground in the municipality.

Companies that have been assigned fields for oil and gas exploration in Croatia are obliged to report all of their findings to the Hydrocarbons Agency. The financial obligations of oil and gas researchers to the state consist of the so-called royalties or field concession fees and the delivery of part of the oil and gas obtained from the fields.

In addition to here in Croatia, Vermilion is present in Central Europe with oil and gas exploration work in both Hungary and Slovakia.

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