Decision Revoking INA Exploration Licence Quashed

By 17 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 17, 2018 - The INA oil company on Tuesday reported that it had received a ruling by the High Administrative Court quashing an earlier decision by the Administrative Court and a decision by the Economy Ministry to revoke an exploration licence for the Sava exploration site, and returned the case to be reconsidered.

"Pursuant to the High Administrative Court's reasoning, the exploration licence for the Sava site was revoked without any valid reason," INA said in a brief press release.

The dispute dates back to mid-2011. In July 2011, the then Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship revoked INA's hydrocarbon exploration licence for the Sava, Drava and Northwest Croatia sites, claiming that conditions pertaining to the licence had not been fulfilled.

INA then filed a complaint with the Administrative Court, which quashed the ministry's decision.

The ministry then made a new decision, once again revoking the licence. In November 2014, the ministry revoked INA's licences for mineral exploration in the Northwest Croatia and Sava sites, saying that the company did not carry out exploration work in accordance with the licences.

INA filed complaints against the court's decision – one with the Constitutional Court for the Drava site, and a decision in that case is still pending, and one with the High Administrative Court for the Sava and Northwest Croatia sites.

Unofficial sources have said that the latest ruling, among other things, states that the ministry's assessment of the obligations pertaining to the exploration licence which led to its revocation, focused unduly on form to the detriment of INA, and was in contravention of the legal principle of proportionality in administrative proceedings and the objectives and purpose of the EU Directive (94/22/EC of 30 May 1994) on conditions for the issuing and use of hydrocarbon exploration, exploitation and production licences.