EBRD pioneers gas storage project in Croatia

By EBRD  Press Office

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The EBRD is helping Croatia ensure security of energy supply by providing a €70 million senior corporate loan to Plinacro, a state-owned Croatian gas transmission operator, to acquire a gas storage facility in Okoli, near the capital Zagreb.

Through this project the EBRD will contribute to increasing Croatia’s energy independence and securing a stable energy supply which will make the Croatian economy more resilient to possible energy shocks in the future.

This is the first of several anticipated gas storage financings aimed at enhancing the security of supply in the Bank’s region that are likely to be considered by the Bank in the coming years.

The loan will be used by Plinacro to acquire 100 percent of the company Podzemno skladiste plina d.o.o., a company that owns the strategically-important gas storage facility in Okoli.

The EBRD financing, in conjunction with a programme of additional €19.4 million capital investments which will be implemented by the company, will enable Plinacro to improve the efficiency of the facility’s storage operations.

Additionally, this project will also support the associated restructuring of Croatia’s gas sector according to EU directives, including opening of up of the facility to a broader range of eligible industrial consumers.

“As gas storage becomes an increasingly important issue for EU member states and accession countries in ensuring security of energy supply, this project will play a critical role for Croatia’s ability to cope with potential supply shocks,” said Kevin Bortz, EBRD’s Director for Natural Resources. “Furthermore, it will help Croatia align its gas market regulatory reform with EU directives by securing non-discriminatory access and further market liberalisation,” Mr Bortz added.

Plinacro is a state-owned company which manages gas transportation from the border of Croatia to the local gas distributors and end consumers. It owns and operates 2,113 km of regional and trunk pipelines and transports approximately 3.45 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum.

Mr Branko Radošević, President of the Board of Plinacro said: “Underground gas storage services are the backbone of flexible and reliable natural gas infrastructure and an important tool for a balanced natural gas supply. Therefore, taking a long term view, the acquisition of the underground gas storage facility for us is a strategic business undertaking.“

Since the beginning of its operations in Croatia in 1994, the EBRD has invested a total of €1.88 billion, mobilising an additional €3 billion from other sources. The Bank’s investments have been targeted at the financial sector, transport and municipal services, tourism and the corporate sectors.

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