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Exxon, Total, Edison, Gazprom Attend Croatian Oil and Gas Tender

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Gazprom OAO, Lukoil OAO, Total SA and Edison SpA were among more than 40 energy companies attending the start of the Croatian government’s tender for Adriatic Sea oil and gas exploration.

Enel SpA, Hellenic Petroleum SA, Petroceltic International Plc, Turkish Petroleum Corp., Hunt Oil Co. and Croatia’s INA Industrija Nafte d.d. were also present in Zagreb as tenders went out for 29 exploration blocks of Adriatic seabed, according to Economy Ministry spokesman Tomislav Cerovec.

Croatia, which is seeking new revenue to revive its economy, will close the tenders on Nov. 3. The terms are based on a production-sharing agreement model with a five-year exploration phase and a 25-year production phase.

“We have a great interest,” Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak told reporters in Zagreb. “A successful tender will make Croatia a key gas and oil provider in this part of Europe, and our gas will be the cheapest in the region.”

Croatia, which joined the European Union in July, needs investment to revive growth after five years of economic recession. The country revised laws on hydrocarbon research in June, easing the process for gaining permits to tap more of its own resources and reduce dependence on Russian gas.

EU Financing

Croatia may also seek EU financing for a planned liquefied-natural-gas terminal on the Adriatic island of Krk, Vrdoljak told Bloomberg News today. A location permit for the terminal will probably be issued in June, he said.

INA is “very interested” in the tender, and may take part in it alone or with a partner, Zoltan Aldott, head of the management board at INA, told Bloomberg.

The blocks were drawn up after Norwegian seismic-data company Spectrum ASA completed the imaging of 35,000 square kilometers (13,500 square miles) of Croatia’s seabed last year.

Croatia may hold as much oil and gas in the Adriatic Sea as Italy does in the same branch of the Mediterranean, Vrdoljak said on Oct. 29, citing initial results of the seismic mapping.

INA, Croatia’s largest refiner, operates offshore platforms in the northern Adriatic with Edison SpA and Eni. Zagreb-based INA, controlled by Hungary’s Mol Nyrt., has so far had a monopoly on exploration in Croatia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net Michael Winfrey, Pawel Kozlowski

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