Croatia would not be affected much in case Russia cuts off its gas supply to the EU, thanks to its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the island of Krk in the northern Adriatic, the recently appointed Economy Minister, Davor Filipovic, said on Monday.
“In the event of such a situation, we would be among the best prepared EU countries,” he said after a meeting of EU energy ministers. It was Filipovic’s first meeting at the Council of the EU after he succeeded Tomislav Coric last week, state agency Hina said.
Hina did not clarify how much gas consumed in Croatia comes from Russia.
Filipovic said that Croatia had already increased the capacity of the LNG terminal on Krk from 2.6 to 2.9 billion cubic meters of gas and that it was willing to increase it additionally with the help of European partners. Filipovic announced that the government would also fill up the underground gas storage facility Okoli to enhance gas supply security. Hina did not explain how much of the LNG’s storage capacity currently holds gas meant for the local market. It also did not clarify what the capacity of Okoli was.
As for Russia’s demand that the EU pay for its gas in Russian roubles, Filipovic said that EU countries wanted “clearer instructions” from the European Commission in that regard. Russia suspended gas supply for Poland and Bulgaria last week, after they refused to pay for Russian gas imports in roubles.
Although gas contracts are usually agreed in prices denominated in international currencies such as the US dollar, Moscow now demands payments in roubles in order to prop up its currency, which lost considerable ground since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine.
Although some EU countries said they would agree to this demand, the European Commission said that this would effectively mean a circumvention of EU’s sanctions against Russia.
Filipovic said that EU energy ministers agreed that “it would be good” to launch joint gas procurement at the EU level to help reduce gas prices – and that Croatia supported that view.