S.O.S. ADRIATIC: NO OIL DRILLING!

AIM OF THE CAMPAIGN

The aim of the campaign S.O.S. Adriatic is to keep the entire Adriatic Sea oil free, not only by stopping the planned activities in Croatia, but also by ending existing oil production on the Italian side of the Adriatic.

The plan of the Croatian Government to sign harmful contracts with companies for the purpose of oil and gas drilling in the Adriatic is unacceptable. We demand that the government put a moratorium on oil exploration and exploitation in the Adriatic Sea.

Oil companies are increasingly cutting their budgets for new exploration activities and suspending further oil and gas exploitation operations in new areas. Furthermore, we live in an age of dramatic transitions in the energy sector due to climate change, and we believe that more experts and politicians have to realise that the future of energy in the Adriatic isn’t oil, but renewable energy sources.

WHO WE ARE

Our intention is to include more citizens’ initiatives and civil society organisations (CSOs) into the campaign. Currently, the campaign is run by CSOs within the national environmental network Green Forum (Zeleni forum): Zelena akcija/FoE Croatia (Zagreb), Sunce (Split), Zelena Istra (Pula), Žmergo (Opatija), and BIOM (Zagreb), in cooperation with Greenpeace Croatia, and WWF Adria.

Together with other interested CSOs and initiatives we are determined to fight the harmful project of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Adriatic. We have launched this website with the aim to inform citizens about this issue, and about our activities within the S.O.S. Adriatic campaign.

WHY OIL DRILLING IN THE ADRIATIC IS PROBLEMATIC

  • In case of any kind of accident, oil exploration and exploitation would endanger the entire Adriatic ecosystem, including all people whose livelihoods depend on tourism and fishing. This harmful project will prolong Croatia’s dependence on fossil fuels and will contribute to the deepening of the climate crisis, which already has devastating impacts on humans (e.g. extreme weather events that cause floods and droughts).
  • The Croatian Government keeps investing in old technologies in an era when there are clear alternatives to fossil fuels. According to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the prices of renewable energy sources (RES) in 2014 were competitive with fossil fuel prices. Moreover, the intergovernmental organisation underlined that the notions of renewable energy technologies being expensive or uncompetitive are outdated.
  • Oil drilling in the Adriatic threatens tourism, one of the most lucrative branches of the Croatian economy, which not only employs a large number of people, but also regularly contributes around 15% or more to the annual GDP. That makes it one of the few stable industries in Croatia. Drilling threatens fishing as well, an industry which employs many people throughout the year, especially in areas which don’t have many employment opportunities, such as islands and smaller coastal cities (Croatia exported about $114 million worth of top quality marine fish in 2003).
  • Even among the companies that are presented as “the best”, “most professional”, and “safest”, such as BP or Shell, catastrophic errors still happen, but the direct responsibilities that these companies bore for the damages they caused were minimum. The damage of such errors is incalculable for the environment, fauna, but also for the residents who live there, and who depend on the environment directly or indirectly. The sea current in the Adriatic moves from south to north on the eastern (Croatian) coast, and from north to south on the western (Italian) coast, which means that an oil spill anywhere would very quickly spread across the entire Croatian coast and neighbouring Italy. Like the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea is extremely sensitive due to the slow exchange of sea water, which takes about 80 years.
  • The whole process of conducting the public tender, “passing” the Framework Plan and Program for the Exploration and Exploitation of Hydrocarbons in the Adriatic, and the preparation of the Strategic Environmental Impacts Assessment was untransparent and rushed. The licence for 2D seismic exploration of the Adriatic, which was conducted by the British company Spectrum Geo Ltd from September 2013 to January 2014, was issued by the Ministry of Economy after signing a secret contract, and without holding a public tender. The decision to award concessions for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic was made on January 2nd 2015 in a closed government session, without any prior public debate or thematic session in the Parliament. The very fact that the whole process is run by just one ministry [of economy], and a hurriedly established Agency for Hydrocarbons, leaves room for corruption, and signing harmful contracts.

These are only some of the reasons why we believe that the planned exploration and exploitation of oil in the Adriatic is unacceptable.