Economy minister: Croatia wants to be energy hub of Southeast Europe

NEWS 29.04.202310:24 0 komentara

Croatian Economy Minister Davor Filipovic, who participated in the economic forum in Delphi, Greece on Friday, said Croatia is doubling the capacity of the LNG terminal on Krk and is discussing connecting to the gas pipeline from Azerbaijan, to position itself as an energy center in this part of Europe.

“We are doing all this in order to supply gas to our neighboring countries, because if Croatia were selfish, the current capacity of LNG would be sufficient to meet all Croatian needs,” said Filipovic.

“However, we also think of our neighbors. We want to contribute to the whole of Europe, and become the energy hub of our part of Europe, so that we would never again be in a situation where we depend on only one source of gas, which until now was Russia,” he added.

Filipovic participated in the panel “Russian hybrid war: How to strengthen the energy security of the EU” in Delphi.

The capacity of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, where ships with predominantly American liquefied gas arrive, has a capacity of 2.9 billion cubic meters per year. Its capacity should be 6.1 billion in 2025.

Croatia has signed a contract with the Norwegian company Vartsila two weeks ago, which should install a new module in 22 months, which will enable an increase in capacity.

“In addition to that, Plinacro is working on strengthening our gas pipeline network on the Zlobin-Bosiljevo route so that we can release these increased capacities into our gas system,” Filipovic told Hina after a panel debate.

The gas would then go to Slovenia and then to Austria and Bavaria in the south of Germany. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Zeder and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nahamer visited Krk six months ago, where they discussed cooperation with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

“We will do everything to make Croatia the energy center of this part of Europe,” said Filipovic.

Croatia therefore intends to connect to the existing gas pipeline that stretches from gas-rich Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Albania. The plan is to build a branch that would go from Albania through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia.

“Croatia supports this project. We think it is important to have another additional supply route where the gas would reach Split, where our gas pipeline network goes,” said Filipovic. The gas could then be exported further.

In July, Azerbaijani President Ilhan Aliyev signed a strategic partnership agreement with the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, to increase gas supplies from the Caspian Lake to the EU. The agreement was signed five months after Russia, from which the EU covers 40 percent of its gas needs, launched an invasion of Ukraine.

The project of transporting gas from Azerbaijan to Croatia, known as the Adriatic-Ionian pipeline, has been under consideration for years, but the current situation has accelerated it.

“Prime Minister Plenkovic and I in Davos (in January) talked with President Aliyev. Then, among other things, we addressed that project. We also talked with the representatives of Montenegro then, and we continue to talk with our friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Filipovic.

He pointed out that the absence of Russian gas this winter did not affect the EU.

“Regardless of the fact that some announced a disaster in the entire EU, that Europe would collapse, that there would be no gas, that we would freeze, the exact opposite happened. Strong unity in the EU provided support to Ukraine, and at the same time, many countries achieved economic growth.” , Filipović said, adding that Croatia had a 6.3 percent GDP growth last year.

He says that all gas produced in Croatia “remains in Croatia”.

“Last year, we directed INA’s production of about 700,000 cubic meters to Croatian citizens, because at one point 120,000 Croatian citizens were left without gas,” said the minister, adding that “Croatia is secure as far as gas supply is concerned.”

“We haven’t had any problems this winter,” he said.

The winter was one of the warmest in recent decades, but Filipovic cites market intervention as a factor.

“At the EU level, we limited the price to €180 per megawatt hour in December. This was a message to speculators that they would not make money off the backs of EU citizens, and Croatian citizens and companies here. Since then, the price has started to fall.” He said.

The price is now slightly below €40 euros per megawatt hour, he added.

Greece was in the group of 15 countries that advocated for the lowest possible limit, led by its Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, whom Filipovic met in Delphi. Ditte Jorgensen, director of the European Commission’s energy department, was also present at the meeting.

“We are discussing how to continue making the right moves at the EU level, how to help Ukraine and maintain European unity,” the Croatian minister concluded.

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