Croatia awarded permits to four companies for gas and oil exploration on six blocks in the country’s flat northern areas.
INA, Crodux Derivati Dva, Vermilion Zagreb Exploration and Aspect Croatia are expected to invest some 78 million euro in exploratory activities, Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency (CHA) quoted Energy and Environment Protection Minister Tomislav Coric as saying.
Croatian energy firm INA was awarded exploration licenses for two exploration blocks, Drava-03 and North-western Croatia-01. The license for exploration and production in the Sava-07 exploration block was awarded to Vermilion Zagreb Exploration, part of Canada-based Vermilion, which is already performing exploration works in Croatia.
Aspect Croatia, the subsidiary of US oil company Aspect Holdings, was awarded an exploration license for the Sava-06 exploration block and Croatian oil company Crodux Derivati Dva will perform exploration works in Sava-11 and Sava-12 exploration blocks.
The four companies have submitted bids for six of a total of seven blocks stretching over an area of 14,272 square km all located in Croatia’s Pannonian basin that were offered in a tender opened in late October 2018. Croatia’s prolific Pannonian basin is well-known and has a long history of producing oil and gas fields.
(Croatia awarded six oil and gas exploration licences for Pannonian basin in August 2019 CHA)
The SA-6, SA-7, DR-3 and SZH-01 exploration blocks in the Pannonian Basin have already been confirmed as prolific by previous exploration, CHA said in a statement, adding that all elements of a hydrocarbon system are present and exhibit great potential for additional new exploration works aimed at identifying new hydrocarbon reservoirs. Previous geochemical studies of the Pannonian Basin indicated that 2 to 3 times more hydrocarbons have been generated than discovered to date.
The SA-11, SA-12 and SZH-05 exploration blocks are located on the margin of the Pannonian Basin where small-scale exploration works have been performed, with these blocks remaining unexplored. Due to marginal results, the hydrocarbon potential of these blocks has not been extensively explored. New exploration works in these blocks will determine the hydrocarbon potential of this margin of the Pannonian Basin.
Last month, Vermilion Zagreb Exploration informed the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy (MEPE) and the CHA of its gas discovery in the first Cerić-1 exploration well, at the location of the same name in the SA-10 exploration block in the Vukovar-Srijem County. Vermillion also notified the CHA about a natural gas discovery at the Berak location in the SA-10 exploration block. The discovery was confirmed by testing the Berak-1 exploration well, and further evaluation of all the data collected is ongoing.
Twenty five new exploration wells are planned as part of the new cycle of onshore exploration for which the government of Croatia has awarded licenses. Adding to this the exploration already underway in Eastern Slavonia, there are plans to drill approximately 30 new wells in the Pannonian Basin over the next five years.
The new locations represent a continuation of Croatia's strategy to create conditions for large investments in exploration and exploitation. The country imports some 80% of its oil needs and around 60% of the gas it consumes.