Oil Exploration Starts November 1st

By , 12 Oct 2018, 14:12 PM Business
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October 12, 2018 - Although the search has lasted for more than a century, Montenegro has never been closer to discovering oil and gas. On November 1st, the Eni-Novatek consortium seismic research vessel will sail into our part of the Adriatic.

If the existence of oil and gas in our seabed is determined, the income from 62 to 68 percent belongs to Montenegro. This money will not be directly included in the budget, but will be kept for future generations, said the Directorate for hydrocarbons. Exclusively for TV CG, the director of the Italian company Eni for Montenegro, Agostino Makanji has agreed to talk about this job.

"We are here because we have analyzed the data that already existed in Montenegro and we believe the potential exists, but we will tell our last words only when we see the new data. New data will come from seismic research that will begin on November 1st and will last for 45 days. Namely, a ship that will move slowly at speed between 4 and 6 knots will drag the device for the transmission of sound impulses or air cannons. The sound will be rejected from the sea bottom, and ship computers will process seismic data. That signal will analyze a supercomputer and we will get a better picture of what's under the surface. This will enable us to explore the potential resources of the area for which we have been granted the license. We hope to get positive data," Makanji said.

For TV Magazine TV CG the Director for Montenegro from the Greek company "Energean Oil & Gas" Antonios Nikolopoulos says seismic research of this oil company will begin at the end of this or early next year. "When we receive the approved environmental impact assessment, our plan is for the ship to start exploring in late December or early next year. If we are lucky enough to find good places, drilling will take place in 2020," Nikolopulos said.

The minimum number of boreholes from the Italian - Russian and Greek companies is defined by contracts signed with the Government of Montenegro. Eni and Novatek will drill two: one will be 6,500 feet deep, the other 2,000.

"You see it all on the ultrasound, but until the surgeon opens it he does not know what's going on in there. Such parallel is also applicable in this industry. This borehole is very important to us because it gives you not only information on whether it has oil and gas but gives you information about the entire geology and structure. It means more boreholes, more knowledge of the underground," explains the Director of hydrocarbons Vladan Dubljević.

The first borehole will be out of the Montenegrin territorial waters.

It will be in the area between Bar and Ulcinj and 23 km away from the coast outside the territorial waters of Montenegro. So, the territorial waters are 12 km, and this will be 23 km far from the coast," said Dubljevic.

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Oil exploration in MNE

Exploration of oil and gas in our seabed is severely opposed by the non-governmental organization Green Home. They believe that citizens do not know enough about the consequences of exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

"Our slogan is a wild beauty. Where is the wild beauty with oil platforms? We believe that the citizens are not adequately informed what the investigation of oil and gas in our small sea means, which is of a closed type and what consequences it brings not only for biodiversity but also for the health and quality of life of citizens. As well as in various economic sectors such as fishing, tourism...," warns Natasa Kovačević, Green Home.

Kovačević claims that any petroleum search is in opposition to the first article of our Constitution that defines Montenegro as an ecological state and that seismic research will make enormous damage. The oil companies claim differently. "Every activity carries some risk. In this case, the risk of geophysical research is minimal, but it has long been discussed with the Agency for Environmental Protection. Finally, we have identified all the necessary mitigation measures in accordance with the latest and most advanced regulations and all international standards of nature protection," said the director of the Italian company Eni for Montenegro, Agostino Makanji. Research will be done, it is stated in the Green Home, in seismologically sensitive areas.

"This is the area of Bara and Ulcinj. We know that in one of these blocks, block 26, the epicenter in 1979 was close to it. There is a possibility of induced earthquakes," warns Kovačević.

"We will certainly not cause any earthquakes with these weak energy sounds that we will produce during geophysical activities," Makanji answers.

Branislav Glavatović, a geophysics engineer, says the risk can only exist from the oil spill itself when drilling.

"These are extremely rare cases. We remember the event in the Gulf of Mexico, which was unusual, because it was caused by extremely high pressures at those depths of several kilometers where drilling was carried out but these are very rare events," Glavatovic pointed out.

For four decades, Energean has been researching and producing oil and gas without a single incident, claims the first man from this company in Montenegro.

Although Eni is linked to numerous oil spills, the director of Montenegro Makanji says that the situation has changed.

"In the last decade, we did not have any oil spills, and we had hundreds of boreholes. We are confident and certain in the technology we use to avoid oil spills, but if it does occur, we will be ready to respond immediately. We have increased the safety in the past 10 years that even Norway has allowed us to produce oil in the Barents Sea. It is the most sensitive environment in the world, so we are convinced that we are doing a good job here in Montenegro," Makanji says.

If the existence of black gold is found in our seabed, the income from 62 to 68 percent belongs to Montenegro. This money will not be directly included in the budget but will be kept for future generations as well. The law on the fund is being drafted, which is done according to the Norwegian pattern.

"The Government and Parliament have decided that only 15 percent of this potential revenue goes to the budget and that 85 percent, the principal, is something similar to family silver, that it belongs to the generations to come, to be an investment development fund, which will generate some revenue, per se," said Vladan Dubljević.

Text by Svetlana Slavujević, on October 12th, 2018, read more at Boka news

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