Montenegro: More voices raised against offshore oil exploration

Montenegro: More voices raised against offshore oil exploration

The Network for Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector (MANS) called on the Government of Montenegro to hire European experts and reconsider the contract on oil exploration in the coastal zone of this country instead of, as they point out, conducting the negotiations concluded by the former regime.

A MANS statement notes that they were “surprised by the claims of Capital Investments Minister Mladen Bojanić that the former government had concluded a fair and legal contract for oil exploration” and had protected public interest although, as they say, every other big deal was sealed with corruption.

“The contract was not revised, and the public recently found out that the job was given to companies registered only for the needs of the project, following the recipe used for the privatization of Kombinat aluminijuma, but also numerous other companies that were forced into bankruptcy,” says MANS.

This organization asked whether Minister Bojanić was “really so naive as to believe that former ruling party DPS did not “financially fit in” only in the oil business or had some other reasons and motives to fight so hard to continue the implementation of that dubious contract without any prior verification.”

“We believe that it is one question whether Montenegro should put the tourism sector at risk in an attempt to find oil, and quite another whether the new government should do so in the manner and under the conditions set by the DPS,” MANS said.

They call on the Government and Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić to urgently suspend the implementation of contracts with offshore companies concluded by the former government, and to hire independent experts in cooperation with the European Union to analyse and evaluate the work.

“Otherwise, a change of government can only mean a change of pockets into which the benefits of corruption flow, and not a sincere break with the practices of the previous regime promised by Krivokapić and all parties that support him,” MANS said.

Other organizations and citizens previously voiced their opposition to oil and gas exploration in the coastal zone of Montenegro, claiming that such activities will jeopardize the already uncertain tourist season. Some of them demand that citizens vote on the use of oil and gas near the coast via a referendum. /ibna