* Croat oil group INA will talk separately about LNG project
* Adriatic LNG project still seen operational in 2014
By Igor Ilic
ZAGREB, March 11 Croatia's energy firms will
change their participation structure in an Adriatic liquefied
natural gas (LNG) terminal project to help make it operational
in 2014, an economy ministry source said on Thursday.
The capacity of the future terminal, to be built on the
northern Adriatic island of Krk, is planned at 15 billion cubic
metres (bcm) of gas per year.
The target markets are central and southeastern Europe and
Italy, and the project is part of Europe's efforts to diversify
gas supply routes.
"Our two state-owned energy firms -- power board HEP and gas
pipeline operator Plinacro -- will form a Croatian consortium
for the LNG, but (oil group) INA INA.ZA HINAq.L will go
alone," the source said.
"We hope it will facilitate the process," the source added.
The government is expected to adopt a decision on
establishing the Croatian LNG consortium soon.
At the moment, four foreign energy firms keen to take part
in the project are part of the Adria LNG consortium. They
include Germany's E.ON-Ruhrgas EONG.DE, Austria's OMV
(OMVV.VI), France's Total (TOTF.PA) and Geoplin from Slovenia.
Croatian firms should join later this year and have a
25-percent stake in the joint venture. INA can have 14 percent
while Plinacro and HEP will jointly have 11 percent.
The LNG project has moved slowly in recent years, largely
due to a slow decision-making process within Croatia, but the
foreign investors are keen to speed it up because of a strong
competition looming on the Italian side of the Adriatic.
"There is definitely good will now to speed up the whole
procedure. We're nearing the moment of getting the location
permit, which will make the final investment decision possible,"
a source familiar to the process said.
The investment is expected to be worth 800 million euros.
INA, in which Hungary's MOL MOLB.BU owns some 47 percent
and the Croatian government 44 percent, said it remained
committed to the project.
(Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and James Jukwey)