Serbia: Energy resources and balances, imports and exploitation

8. June 2016. / News Serbia Energy

GazopromNeft “NIS” is the only company in the country, involved in the natural gas extraction and exploitation. Since the lack of resources, certain amounts are imported from Ukraine and Hungary, and only through one crossing border. Storage of natural gas is performed by “Banatski Dvor”, the company founded by “Srbijagas” and “Gazprom Germania GmbH”.

Basic energy needs for Serbia (excluding Kosovo), amount to nearly 16 million tons of oil per year. The biggest part – more than fifty percent – at this point comes from coal and lignite, of low calorific value, which is the dominant raw material for the electricity generation.

A high percentage of energy generated from coal, produced in local coal mines, gives to Serbia a certain degree of autonomy, higher than is the case in other countries in the region. At the same time, this kind of source reduces the efficiency of energy transformation and increases bad environmental impact, which multiplies costs and risks on long-term basis.

In addition to coal, when it comes to fossil and conventional resources types, Serbia also has oil and natural gas. There is also the possibility of using unconventional resources, such as oil shale, as well as a number of renewable energy sources. Specific figures indicate that total geological reserve of hard coal amount to 4.02 million tons, of brown coal 45.17 million tons, 193 million of brown lignite, of lignite 3,698, 50 million of oil, 50 million of natural gas, and oil shale – 398. From total amount of electricity generated in EPS during 2013, up to 70.9 percent is generated in TPPs from “Kolubara” OCM (53.5) and “Kostolac” OCM (17.3). On the other hand, natural gas reserves are modest, but they are at solid use level.

When it comes to shale, it is estimated that total reserves amount to about 4.8 million tons of kerogen. However, of all the potential sites, the only one in Aleksinac was really explored, and it was found that there are about two billion tons of kerogen, which should amount to about 200 million tons of shale.

Total technically available potential of renewable energy sources in our country, according to estimates, is about 5.65 million tons per year. 1,054 million of biomass (mainly wood fuel) is used, and about 909 000 tons goes for hydropower. Total output from hydro power plants is 2835 MW which, compared with a total capacity of 7124 MW of electricity generation, is about 39 percent. We should not ignore the potential of small hydro power plants, for whose construction in Serbia there are more than 900 suitable locations, and which could annually produce about 1800 GWh.

Security of energy supply may be seen both in short and long term, according to the European Union, depends on a number of different risk groups: physical, economic, political, regulatory, social and environmental. In particular, when it comes to Serbia, the situation is as follows:

“NIS” is the only company in the country, involved in the natural gas extraction and exploitation. Since the lack of resources, certain amounts are imported from Ukraine and Hungary, and only through one crossing border. Storage of natural gas is performed by “Banatski Dvor”, the company founded by “Srbijagas” and “Gazprom Germania GmbH”. Gas extraction in Serbia is modest compared to the needs, so for that reason, it all depends on imports from Russia, which, again, depends on the pipeline network that runs through several countries, and can be interrupted at any time for political or economic reasons.

These facts lead Bojan Stojcetovic, Zivce Sarkocevic and Milan Misic, professors from the Technical College in Zvecani, who in their professional work concerned the above-mentioned issues, to the conclusion that the gas supply of our country is unstable and constantly threatened. They have noted that the big problem is that all the main EU pipelines, for now bypass Serbia, which could be changed by the South Stream construction. Authors believe that numerous delays in this project implementation for now have major economic consequences, disabling us to obtain necessary level of energy stability in near future.

When it comes to oil, although there was recorded production growth in period 2009 – 2013, there is no chance that this trend would succeed to seriously affect the overall energy stability. In the past six years, Serbia’s dependence on oil, expressed in percentages, was still over 75 percent.

In the case of coal, situation is favorable, and would have been immeasurably better if the country could use the reserves in Kosovo, where 75 percent of total reserves are located. This is illustrated by the fact that the energy dependence in this portfolio in 2013, amounted to only 3.91 percent. However, the floods affected the country in May, 2014, also showed that the natural forces and extraordinary extreme events must be considered as a serious risk factor.

As measures in the process of increasing the energy independence degree, the authors propose an increase in storage capacity, managing of smart import politics, energy efficiency increasing, technology modernization, and increased use of renewable sources. If these measures are not taken soon, the country will inevitably face the inability to meet its energy needs, which is the basic precondition for any economic progress, transmits Serbia-energy.eu

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