“LNG Terminal Will Be Ready by 2020 and Profitable”

By 22 April 2018

The new CEO of LNG Croatia is hopeful, despite all the delays and problems.

My plan is to implement the LNG terminal project in the shortest possible time, according to all market expectations, and it is realistic that the floating terminal project will be completed by 2020, said the new director of the LNG Croatia company Barbara Dorić. She added that she would accelerate and optimise the project which has been worked on, in various forms and phases, for more than twenty years, reports Večernji List on April 22, 2018.

Barbara Dorić presented her plans just several days after she was named as the new CEO of LNG Croatia, the company which is developing the project. She took over the position on Thursday, several hours after she was dismissed by the government, at her request, as the head of the Agency for Hydrocarbons.

She has replaced former CEO Goran Frančić, who was criticised for delays in the implementation of the project and who had not presented a satisfactory business plan for this year to the company’s supervisory board. His fate was sealed after it was reported that the first round of tender for the submission of binding bids for leasing the capacity of the future LNG terminal ended with just one offer received. According to unofficial information, the only proposal has been sent by INA, for just 100 million cubic metres of natural gas annually.

“If things develop as they should in the next month or two, there is a good chance that more bidders will send their offers in the second round of the tender,” said Dorić. She announced she would look into why the investors had not shown greater interest and how they could be attracted to the project. The ultimate goal is to make the project profitable.

Dorić was appointed to the new post after a successful term at the government’s Agency for Hydrocarbons. She organised the agency who whose primary objective was to launch new tenders for hydrocarbon exploration in the continental part of Croatia and the Adriatic Sea. In the last three years, all the regulations and implementing acts required for the opening of international tenders have been drafted, the investors have been selected and exploration licences issued.

Given the low oil prices, there was no interest for the exploration of oil in the Adriatic Sea, but the agency did sign contracts for six exploratory fields in the Slavonia and Baranja region on the mainland. Thanks to this tender, the Canadian company Vermilion came to Croatia.

In that project, she managed to deal with the resistance of local government units, opponents of energy projects and bureaucracy, so there is hope that the LNG project should finally start moving forward more quickly.

Earlier this year, Barbara Dorić received her PhD degree at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Ljubljana, with a thesis on “The Performance Management Model in the Oil and Gas Sector”. Another link to the gas sector is her work on the Law on Gas Market. She participated in drafting the law which extended the deadline for full gas market liberalisation by 2021.

She is the head of a commission for the development of energy strategy that should outline the direction in which energy policy will progress. The key to this strategy will be to provide for higher hydrocarbon production, diversification of supply routes and a balance between green energy sources and fossil fuels, to increase Croatia's energy independence.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Marina Šunjerga).