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Croatia opens first onshore licensing round


OSIJEK, Croatia (Bloomberg) -- Croatia started a tender for onshore hydrocarbon exploration to boost investments and reduce dependence on gas imports from Russia and other countries.

This is the first of three continental tenders planned that will cover a total of six research blocks, each between 2.1 sq km (0.8 sq mi) to 2.6 sq km, along Drava and Sava rivers, Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak told reporters in Osijek, eastern Croatia. The tender will close on Feb. 18.

A production-sharing agreement draft stipulates that Croatia would retain 59% of the natural-gas resources found and 57% of the oil deposits, while the remainder goes to the company that explored the field, according to documents distributed to reporters before the briefing.

Croatia, which joined the European Union a year ago, needs investment to revive growth after five years of economic recession. The government last year revised laws on hydrocarbon research, making the process for gaining permits easier in an effort to tap more of its own resources.

The Adriatic nation in April published a tender for offshore oil and gas exploration that attracted more than 40 companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Gazprom OAO, Lukoil OAO, Total SA and Edison SpA.

Zagreb-based INA Industrija Nafte d.d., controlled by Hungary’s Mol Nyrt., had a monopoly on hydrocarbon exploration in Croatia until recently.



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