The Montenegrin government denied the claims of a Croatian daily newspaper of seizing Croatian sea territory to explore more oil.
Croatian daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija reported last week that Montenegro was “seizing” the Croatian sea borders. According to the newspaper’s report, Montenegro has been searching for oil and hydrocarbon in parts of the Croatian sea territory defined by a 2002 Protocol on the Interim Regime along the Southern Border.
The government of Montenegro issued a statement following the report, and denied the allegations of the newspaper. In the statement the government explained that it did not breach the necessities of the 2002 protocol.
“In order to protect its interests, the Government of Montenegro made an objection to the Croatian side and international bodies as the protocol was breached when Croatia called for tender granting concessions for oil and gas exploitation in the area that constitutes disputed territory”, said the government in the statement.
It assured that the search did not approach the regions that were defined by the protocol and they chose a region closer to the Albanian borders. The government showed it was committed to conducting negotiations about the issues of exploring oil and hydrocarbon in the regions between two regions.
The 2002 Protocol on the Interim Regime along on the Southern borders was signed for the dispute about a small peninsula called Prevlaka on the borders of Montenegro and Croatia. The peninsula was a point of dispute between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The UN was monitoring the region for preventing both countries to conflict.
Both states agreed on a common solution in 2002 through getting the Prevlaka peninsula with 500 meters from the Adriatic sea. The Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated and Montenegro became independent in 2006, the agreement continued between two states. In 2008, both states went to the International Court of Justice at Hauge for settling their borders permanently.
States in the Balkan region has planned to build a new gas pipeline in order to decrease Europe’s dependency on Russia in the energy market. Croatia and Montenegro also planned to participate to the project of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). By that time, both states tried to explore oil and gas offshore and filed bids for exploration and drilling.