LNG Croatia Again Gets New CEO

By 20 April 2018

The new CEO is the third one in the last year and a half.

There has been a change at the helm of LNG Croatia, a company responsible for the development of the LNG terminal project at Omišalj on the island of Krk. At a session of the company's assembly on Thursday, CEO Goran Frančić was dismissed and replaced by Barbara Dorić, reports Jutarnji List on April 20, 2018.

She is a former director of the Agency for Hydrocarbons and will now take over the leadership of the most important energy project in Croatia and one of the critical projects in the government's agenda. Rumours about the change at the helm of LNG Croatia have been spreading through the energy sector for some time. The reasons for dissatisfaction with Frančić's results mainly referred to his bad relations and communication with the representatives of Croatian Electric Power Company (HEP) and Plinacro, which are in effect owners of the LNG Croatia company.

According to unofficial information from HEP, another reason was the fact that the dismissed CEO had not yet presented to the company’s supervisory board a business plan for 2018. However, it can be assumed that the immediate trigger for his dismissal were unexpectedly disappointing results of a tender to collect binding bids for lease of the capacity of the future terminal.

As reported earlier, the tender – a crucial step in creating a sustainable financial structure of the project – has received just one offer, for the lease of only four percent of the planned terminal’s capacity. With such a weak interest in the project, it cannot possibly be feasible, which was a cause for alarm in the government and the responsible ministry. It was decided that the work on the project should be intensified, and it was obviously concluded that a new leadership was needed.

The selection of Barbara Dorić is a logical step, given that she is a very experienced official who has worked on the development of large energy projects. She is publicly mostly known as the person who was leading the project of a new cycle of oil and gas exploration in Croatia during the last SDP-led government. The project included changes to Croatian laws, the establishment of a new public agency and the implementation of several international tenders. The process was concluded with a new cycle of exploration in the Pannonian part of Croatia and with the arrival of the first foreign investors in oil and gas sector in recent Croatian history.

In the meantime, Dorić also worked on the Law on Gas Market, so the government believes that she will be able to reverse the current unfavourable trends in the LNG project. The problem is that there is not much time left. And, the fact that she is the third person leading the LNG Croatia company in the last year and a half will certainly not inspire much confidence of potential investors.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Marko Biočina).