Bosnian Serbs Reject Croatian Gas

By , 05 Mar 2017, 11:55 AM Business

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Gas from Croatia was supposed to lower pollution coming from a Bosnian oil refinery.

Milorad Dodik, president of the Republika Srpska, the Serb entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ruled out the possibility that the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina could be connected to the Croatia’s gas network, saying that he wanted his entity to be connected only to gas pipelines which bring gas from Russia, reports on March 5, 2017.

In an interview published on Saturday by the Serbian edition of Russian pro-government media agency Sputnik, Dodik confirmed that, during his stay in Moscow this week, he talked with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the status of the oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, which included the possibility to supply its plants with natural gas which would reduce air pollution which threatens the surrounding areas, including Slavonski Brod on the other side of the border in Croatia.

“Lavrov told me that he discussed the issue with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović”, said Dodik, adding that “Croatian speculations” were in the background of the framework agreement between Croatian President and Russian Foreign Minister to solve the problem by connecting Bosanski Brod to gas network in Slavonski Brod. He said that, in principle, it would be possible to bring to Bosanski Brod “a single pipe” only for the refinery, but added that Croatia actually wanted to use the issue to enter the Bosnian gas market.

“It might have some logic for Croats, but for us there is no logic”, said Dodik, explaining that for his authorities in Banja Luka the only acceptable option was to build hundreds of kilometres of entirely new pipeline to Serbia and to connect it to projects such as the South Stream, which Russia plans to implement. Although the South Stream project has been blocked because it would be in breach of the European Union rules, Dodik is confident that this or a similar project will still be realized in the end and he has therefore decided to wait for this to happen one day.

Unlike the government of the Republika Srpska, the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the other entity within the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, earlier expressed its strategic interest to connect with the gas network in Croatia through the Slavonski Brod-Bosanski Brod-Zenica route. This would be the cheapest way to ensure the supply of gas to northern and central parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and at the same time to ensure the diversification of sources of supply and eliminate dependence on Russian gas. The government of the Republika Srpska has refused to participate in the plan.

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