On January 2, 2005 the Croatian government, in a closed session, moved forward and selected five companies to receive licenses for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in Croatia’s Adriatic Sea, without public input and no prior environmental impact study.
As the news broke, The Wall Street Journal published an article on the topic of Adriatic oil drilling. WSJ included quotes from government representatives with no supporting facts, no follow-ups for detail, just a repeat of that much used phrase: highest environmental standards. The article distills CASA’s opposition to drilling down to concern for the tourism industry, excluding all the complexities that surround this topic. Fortunately, you can read the complete responses from CASA to the interview questions here.
Another detail the WSJ article fails to note is that 39% of Croatia’s Adriatic Sea is designated as specially protected areas and areas of conservation, but 90% of the sea is for sale, and 100% of the sea is endangered!
During exploration, drilling fluids with toxic metals get injected back into the sea. Seismic vessels using air guns damage sea mammals. Exploitation processes pollute the air with flaring. Additionally the infrastructure required for transport and processing has its own set of risks.
And of course the final piece of damage to the sea is the Croatian government’s revitalized plans for the LNG project on Krk!