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Croatia to sign pipeline deal at next month's energy conference

An agreement on an oil pipeline connecting the Balkans and western Europe will be signed next month at a conference in Zagreb, the Croatian foreign and economy ministries said.

The Pan-European Oil Pipeline will run from the Romanian port of Constanza through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia to Trieste in Italy. From there it will connect to the Trans-Alpine Line, which distributes oil to northern Italy and connects to users in Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany. It could also be linked with a pipeline in Switzerland, according to Croatian media reports.

The agreement will be signed April 3 at a conference on southeastern Europe as an energy bridge connecting Russia, the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea region, the Middle East and the European Union, Zeljko Tomsic, an aide to the economy minister, told reporters today. „The agreement was drafted in Bucharest and was sent this week to Brussels for approval,” Tomsic said. The European union imports 43% of its oil from Russia, the world's second-biggest oil supplier.

The country said in December it would cut oil exports 1% annually from 2025, unless it discovers new fields. It is also transferring some of its oil exports to fast-growing Asian economies, especially China. The pipeline will cost $2 billion to $3.5 billion and would bring between $550 million and $980 million in investment into Croatia, depending on its capacity, the newspaper Poslovni Dnevnik said on December 8. It would also improve the quality of oil available to refineries in the region and reduce the number of tankers in the Adriatic Sea. (Bloomberg)