Following lengthy preparations, it appears that Croatia is finally on the best route to obtaining, on the second attempt, a terminal for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is very important for a secure supply of gas.
The construction of an LNG terminal, namely, was planned for the first time at the beginning of the last decade. After years of preparation and a lot of invested money, however, everything "fell through," to a considerable extent because of opposition by the local community to the construction of a facility of that kind on its territory. It is therefore good that the local community has come to understand that this is not a matter of a "gas bomb" or a facility that is very dangerous to the environment, as was being claimed 15 years ago, because, if that were the case, 10 terminals of that kind would not already be operating in the Mediterranean. In Italy alone, two new ones are being built, and another 10 proposed locations are being considered. Moreover, in contrast to the first attempt, when everyone rejected the construction of an LNG terminal in the neighbourhood, a quite intense struggle over whose territory the terminal will be built on has been underway between Istria and Primorsko-Goranska Counties for months already. But that is no surprise when one knows that the county and municipality that are going to "host" the terminal anticipate major benefits from it.
But the main benefit that the terminal will bring Croatia resides in the fact that that it will provide us additional large quantities of gas and do so without depending on Russia, which is the main supplier to Europe of that increasingly popular fuel via existing and planned gas pipelines. Terminals of that kind, namely, are capable of receiving liquefied gas delivered by ships from all corners of the world. That is especially important in view of the fact that Croatia is overly dependent on Russia for the supplying of that fuel, because we satisfy no less than 40 per cent of consumption with Russian gas. How problematic that can be was best seen two winters ago, when, in the midst of the bitterest cold, deliveries of Russian gas were significantly reduced as a result of a dispute between Russia and Ukraine. The latest tensions between Russia and NATO over Georgia are also provoking fear of possible supply disruptions.
The most important thing, however, is for the preparations - which have already been dragged out considerably, with the result that the planned start of work is probably going to be postponed from 2012 to 2014 - to be completed as soon as possible so that the construction of the terminal will commence as soon as possible. It will not be good, namely, if the competition overtakes us (many European countries are already building or planning the building of LNG terminals), because those who are late could have problems with securing adequate quantities of liquefied gas and a market to which to sell it.
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