Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Gas Professionals say Croatia in Better Position Than Most of EU

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Croatian energy regulator HERA Steering Board chair Danijel Žamboki said at a conference of gas professionals on Wednesday that even in the worst-case scenario regarding gas supply, Croatia would be in a much better position that most EU countries.

"That is so because of the diversification of supply routes, the LNG terminal and domestic gas production, which has been growing," Žamboki said at the 37th international conference of gas professionals, taking place in Opatija on 11-13 May and organised by the Croatian Gas Centre and the Croatian Gas Association.

Recalling that the government in March adopted a set of measures to alleviate the impact of rising energy prices, Žamboki said that the basic task of the regulator was to care for energy producers and protect consumers and that it would continue working on that.

The state secretary at the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry, Ivo Milatić, said that Croatia was among leading countries in terms of the protection of households amid rising gas prices.

Speaking of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, he said that it gave Croatia a rare kind of security, "with 800 million cubic metres of gas to enter the gas system from production in the coming year and 1.5 billion cubic metres from the LNG terminal."

The ministry will support a further increase in the terminal's capacity to 6.1 billion cubic metres, he said, noting that that could be achieved in three years' time or sooner.

The director of the Okoli underground gas storage facility, Vlado Vlašić, recalled that the storage capacity had been leased for the next five years and that there was currently no interest on the part of the clients to fill the facility, but that he believed the facility would retain its role and ensure supply stability, thanks to the government's involvement.

Vlašić said that work was underway to expand the storage capacity, which would enable the company to provide additional services in the gas business.

LNG Hrvatska director Hrvoje Krhen said that so far 2.4 billion cubic metres of natural gas had been delivered so far via the LNG terminal at Omišalj on Krk, that 28 LNG tankers had docked at the floating terminal and that around 4 million cubic metres of liquefied natural gas had been delivered.

The LNG terminal supplies gas for around 55% of the market and the gasification capacity has been expanded by an additional 300 million cubic metres of natural gas. The capacity has been fully leased until 2027, and the possibility of further expanding it is being considered, Krhen said.

Plinacro gas transport system operator Management Board member Marin Zovko announced plans for expanding the capacity for shipping gas from the terminal, increasing the capacity of the gas pipelines running to Hungary and Slovenia, and considering a project for an Adriatic gas pipeline grid and connecting to neighbouring countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Nikola Mišetić of INA said that own gas production met around 30% of gas needs in Croatia. This year INA will invest more than one billion kuna in research and production, he said, adding that the company was also dedicated to green projects.

Before the opening of the conference, several members of the Green Action protested inside the venue where the event was taking place, carrying banners reading "Gas business is crime" and calling for turning to renewables and energy efficiency as well as reducing the need for gas as much as possible.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Croatia and Cyprus Can Assist in Europe's Energy Independence

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Cyprus can help the European Union achieve energy independence, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday during an official visit by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who underscored that the LNG terminal on Krk Island would have a big role in that.

The two officials discussed the energy crisis in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

President Anastasiades also condemned a decision by Turkey to not join in Europe's sanctions against Russia.

Anastasiades spoke about energy inter-connection projects in the eastern Mediterranean, between north Africa and Europe, and about the EastMed gas pipeline which should connect Cyprus with Europe via Greece.

That island state has in recent years discovered significant offshore gas deposits, and the proposed project is still being analysed to test its economic feasibility, said Anastasiades.

It can help Europe's energy diversification, he told a news conference.

Addressing the news conference in Nicosia, Plenković underlined that the LNG terminal on Krk Island would have a significant role in achieving Europe's energy security. Thought is being given currently to increasing its capacity and not just for Croatia but for the needs of countries in Central Europe, he said.

Croatia can become an energy hub in the north Adriatic for gas and oil, said Plenković.

He underscored that Europe has to find a new, long-term sustainable alternative to Russia's energy products at an affordable price.

Bilateral cooperation

The two officials emphasised that this was the first visit by a Croatian prime minister to Cyprus and that it should mark a turning point in cooperation between the two countries so that their political agreement on European topics can expand to economic ones.

The two countries are expected to finalise in November an agreement on avoiding double taxation and they have also signed a memorandum on strengthening economic cooperation, which should be accompanied by a memorandum on digital transformation and sea traffic.

We are two Mediterranean countries not far from each other, we share the Mediterranean and I believe there is a lot of room for expanding cooperation, Plenković said, underlining the petrochemical and electrical energy industries, IT sector, pharmaceutical industry and financial and digital cooperation.

Cyprus and Croatia have been connected by air for the past two years, which has resulted in an increased number of tourists.

Croatia's political objectives

Plenković said that he and "his good friend" Anastasiades also discussed Croatia's ambitions for deeper integration in the EU that should occur this year - accession to the passport-free Schengen area, on which a final formal decision is expected in June or July, and accession to the euro area, on which a decision is expected in July.

We will be ready for euro changeover on 1 January, said Plenković.

The two officials also discussed the situation in Southeast Europe, with emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the need to ensure the political rights of Croats in that country, with Zagreb having full support from Nicosia in that regard.

Plenković's two-day visit to Cyprus, during which he laid a wreath at the monument to Makarios III, Archbishop of Cyprus who was the country's first president and is considered to be the father of the nation, ended with a meeting with the country's parliament speaker.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Numerous Croatian Islands Chase Energy Independence in Coming Years

As Morski writes on the 29th of October, 2020, following the first two years of the EU Clean Energy Secretariat's initiative, these Croatian islands form part of a growing community of islands actively working on the energy transition of the European Union.

22 European islands will announce their clean energy transition programmes, thus taking a firm step towards decarbonising their energy systems with a special focus on citizen involvement. An additional 7 EU islands will announce their programs in the near future, reports the Island Movement (Pokret otoka).

A Ilha de Arousa (Spain), the Hvar Archipelago (Croatia), Brac (Croatia), Cape Clear (Ireland), Halki (Greece), Ibiza (Spain), Kasos and Symi (Greece), Korcula (Croatia), Kökar (Finland) ), Menorca (Spain), Pantelleria (Italy), Ouessant, Molène and Île de Sein (France) and Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna, Fair Isle, Foula and the Knoydart Peninsula (Scotland) have developed a transition plan adapted over the past nine months which also covers their individual needs and resources.

Most of these islands were pioneer islands selected back in February 2019 in a competition by the Secretariat for Clean Energy of the EU Islands, an initiative of the European Commission.

The islands' energy transition strategies have been written by island transition teams themselves, with the support of the Clean Energy Secretariat for EU Islands. A year ago, six pilot island initiatives announced their strategies.

An additional 7 islands currently in the process of final approval that will soon announce their transition plans are: Azores (Portugal), Mallorca (Spain), Marie-Galante (France), Belle-Île, Hoedic and Houat (France) and Crete Greece). They will be available on the website when they are ready.

The official announcement of the strategies will take place during the island's Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum, when decision-makers and representatives of the EU island community come together to discuss the future of the European Islands, EU Islands reports.

''These energy transition strategies are proof of the hard work and productive cooperation among islanders, both within their communities and between countries. It was truly inspiring to see what is possible when local people have the power and support to write their own future. We look forward to continuing to work with the EU's island communities to make the European Green Agreement a reality, both through this initiative and through other EU actions to support local energy transition,'' said European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.

Among these Croatian islands lies the Central Dalmatian island of Brac which wants to become energy independent by 2030 in order to provide its residents and visitors with a healthy environment. It plans to do so by increasing its own energy efficiency, installing renewable energy sources, arranging and improving public transport, and building a waste management centre.

The Hvar archipelago plans to be energy self-sufficient by 2035, and this transition should ensure the proactive involvement of both the islanders and energy communities.

Korcula wants to become carbon neutral by 2050 and become a green island where the community is guided by the principles of caring for people, caring for the environment, and preserving the common good and resources.

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