Croatia will participate in a project to connect its natural gas network, and the LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk to that of neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatian Economy Minister Davor Filipović announced on Monday.
The announcement is part of the Southern Gas Interconnection, a planned €100 million project to build a 180-kilometre cross-border pipeline connecting Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which should help alleviate Bosnia’s total dependence on Russian gas.
Bosnia’s only cross-border connection is an extension of the Turkish Stream pipeline operated by Gazprom, which brings in Russian gas via Turkey, and which Bosnia joined in April 2021.
Although the proposed link with Croatia was approved in late 2021 by the parliament of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, an autonomous entity which, together with the Serb Republic, makes up post-war Bosnia, the plan later stalled due to opposition from the largest Bosnian Croat party, HDZ BiH.
HDZ BiH – the sister party of Croatia’s ruling conservative HDZ led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković – demanded the project be led by a company based in Mostar in the southern, Croat-dominated Herzegovina, rather than the entity’s gas company BH Gas based in Sarajevo.
“We are in talks with officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina to build the pipeline so that the gas arriving at the LNG terminal [at Krk] could also be used to supply Bosnia. Croats in Croatia and Croats in Bosnia are both parts of the same [ethnic] group, and it’s only natural that we have Bosnian Croats in mind when we plan to build a pipeline in Croatia leading to Bosnia,” Filipović – a native of Sarajevo who had moved to Croatia as a child during the war in the early 1990s – told reporters on Monday after meeting the leader of HDZ BiH, Dragan Čović.
According to the initial project, a section splitting off the planned 511-kilometre Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) connecting Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania would lead from the Croatian port city of Split towards the town of Imotski and across the Bosnian border to Posušje.
A total of €7.7 million of EU funding has been earmarked to build the entire IAP project, which is expected to be completed by late 2025 and should have a planned capacity of five billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
“During the current crisis, Croatia is fast becoming an energy hub for this part of Europe. We are currently working to double the capacity of the LNG terminal at Krk, which is currently 2.8 billion cubic metres. We are also working to expand the gas network. And we do all that so we can be partners to our neighbouring countries, including Bosnia,” said Filipović, Hina reported.
Source : Euractiv