Croatia Can Become Regional Energy Leader, Says US Official

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ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 – US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon said on Friday that by building an LNG terminal, Croatia had the opportunity to use the new situations in the world of energy and become a regional energy leader.

Energy encourages economic growth and helps countries in self-determination and sovereignty, he said at a round table for journalists in Zagreb. We live in extraordinary times in terms of energy because of newly discovered fields around the world and progress in extraction technology and fuel production, he added.

Fannon arrived in Croatia after visiting Israel, Cyprus and Egypt where, over the past decade, large reserves of natural gas have been discovered which he said should find a way to Europe across Croatia in a few years.

Earlier this month, the LNG Hrvatska company selected a Norwegian bid to build a floating terminal expected to become operational in early 2021. The supplier of the terminal has not been selected yet.

Aside from Israel, Cyprus and Egypt, Fannon mentioned the US, Australia and Qatar as possible natural gas sources. Croatia has the opportunity to become the leader in the procurement of gas from many sources, he said.

US Ambassador Robert Kohorst said at the round table the buyers of the gas from the LNG terminal on Krk island would mainly come from Southeast Europe, given that the north of the continent has other sources.

The International Energy Agency said earlier this month that natural gas would replace coal as the second energy source in the world by 2030, with annual growth of 1.6%, the first being oil.

We must look at energy in a new context. It would be a mistake to expect things to stay as they are, Fannon said, noting that US oil production jumped from six million barrels a year in 2012 to 11 million today. That’s an incredible growth, and the situation is similar with gas, he added.

Despite the fact that, according to the Financial Times, the 20 LNG terminals in Europe work at one fourth of their capacity, Fannon said building such an infrastructure created a broad strategic advantage.

More sources create a more competitive environment, he said, adding that Lithuania reduced the gas price by building a terminal and that depending on one supplier was not healthy for any state.

Fannon welcomed Croatia’s new initiatives to explore energy sources on its territory. We are glad that Croatia has embarked on an independent energy journey and that it wants to be a regional energy hub, he said.

In October, the Croatian government decided to invite bids for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation at seven land locations. Bids can be submitted by June 2019.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Fannon who confirmed his country’s support for the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, the Croatian government said in a statement.

For more on the LNG terminal that is supposed to be constructed in Croatia, click here.


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