EU to finance Bosnian connection to Croatia gas grid

29. April 2013. / SEE Energy News

The European Union (EU) supports the project to connect the existing gas network in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia’s grid and considers this to be a project of regional significance but action needs to be expeditious as the deadline to draw funds for a feasibility study is expiring soon, stated EU spokesperson in Bosnia and Herzegovina Andy McGuffie.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has secured a loan of one million euro for a feasibility study to construct a gas pipeline – Slavonski Brod (Croatia) – Bosanski Brod – Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The project is of regional significance and part of the EU Energy Community gas ring, McGuffie said.

McGuffie made the comment after Bosnian media reported on the possibility of the Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska (RS) connecting to the Russian South Stream gas pipeline. The topic raised a few eyebrows as the project to connect Bosnia to Croatia’s gas grid has been neglected for years.

Bosnia is currently entirely dependent on Russia for gas supplies which are delivered via Hungary and Serbia. Bosnia believes that if it were to connect to Croatia’s gas grid it would be secured stable gas supplies and would no longer be dependent on just one supplier.

Despite the EU’s readiness, Bosnia has not done anything to move the project along.

This would be a missed opportunity for Bosnia. The EIB has already extended the deadline but the money will soon no longer be available, McGuffie underscored.

Bosnian gas experts have said that the RS is stalling the process as it does not want to be part of the project and is satisfied with the South Stream.

Authorities in RS earlier this year decided to withdraw a tender to construct a section of the gas Zenica-Bosanski Brod pipeline that passes through that entity and immediately founded a new gas company with Russian partners. The director of the newly-founded company is former industry minister in that entity who has opted for the South Stream.

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