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Vrdoljak: Croatia can become a small Norway

Vrdoljak: Croatia can become a small Norway

By Natasa Bogovic - Zagreb

"Croatia can become a small Norway", announced not without joy the Croatian Finance Minister , Ivan Vrdoljak, after a survey of the norwegian company Spectrum revealed promising deposits of gas and oil in the central and southern Adriatic. He announced that Croatia will publish tenders for offshore gas and oil exploration in the second quarter of this year, probably in April.

"Before that, we will define the concession blocks that we will offer to all the companies interested in gas and oil exploration and exploitation in the Adriatic. This is an extremely important project, which could turn Croatia into an important energy hub', Vrdoljak said.

"An important energy hub" according to a unnamed industry source, could mean that the deposits should be similar to those of the neighboring Italy, which has more than 1,100 wells. The source claims that what's been found in Italy should be found in Croatia referring to gas deposits in the north, and oil deposits  in the south.

At the moment Croatia obtains about 60-65% percent of its annual gas needs from its own resources, while it imports about 80% percent of the oil products it needs.

The croatian public is skeptical, some of them claiming that this shows the extend of the financial crisis when only a miracle, such as oil deposits, can save the croatian economy.

The traditionally loud right wing euro-parliamentarian, Ruza Tomasic, called the minister a demagogue, claiming that in all the seas around the world there are gas and oil deposits, but the exploitation is not profitable and it can be dangerous for the  environment.

"Of course that there is gas and oil, we knew that even form Tito's time" ; "Are we all going to be rich now, or only some of us?", were some of the comment of those who do not share the minister's enthusiasm. According to those skeptics, Croatia will never become a small Norway, but more will be known on the subject when all survey data are published in April this year.

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