S.O.S. for Adriatic: Oil drilling in the Adriatic is unacceptable and this is why

If you follow the media, you certainly have the opportunity to see and hear the arguments that promote oil drilling in the Adriatic. Mostly this is the only argument you will see in the mainstream media. Our Government simply decided that instead of a public discussion on this important issue, engages a PR company that needs to convince us of the benefits of exploitation for all of us.

After 25 years, our politicians have probably concluded that they have sold us enough to become a new Switzerland. From now on, Croatia has sought to become a new Saudi Arabia.

New jobs, cheap petroleum products, energy independence, higher GDP, and easier money than renting apartments. “The hunt easy money is a safe bet.” Until now, we have already learned that there is no safe signal and that there is no easy money. At stake, the house always gets and the drilling of oil in the Adriatic is exactly that – GAMBLING.

Of course, it is justified that the citizens of Croatia agree to that, but then you deserve to know the arguments against drilling. Here are just some of them:

ECONOMIC: Tourism (about € 7.5 billion per year), fishing and mariculture (€ 100 million a year) are worthwhile, which together cost more than oil exploration (estimated at 500 to 800 million kunas, not euro but kuna, in 5 years). Platforms are planned at 6km from the island, thick at a visible distance and without any incident, we can expect a drop in tourism because the platforms definitely do not fit into the Mediterranean as it once was. An eventual catastrophe on the platform or tankers that will carry the oil from it, is the key to the lock for our tourism.

SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY: Although responsible claims that Croatia is ready to monitor that exploration and exploitation of oil is carried out with the highest possible standards of environmental protection, the fact is that our “system”, for which the Agency claims it is ready, is unable to control existing tankers in ZERP where deliberately, by washing the tanks, pollutes the Adriatic. How do you expect tomorrow to watch big “world players”? Let’s just take a look at what happened to the ships that marooned on the last wind in Split at Marjan. The “system” took 6 days to set floating dams around the ship and only after the Sunce’s warning. In what time then do you expect a reaction to Palagruza incident?

PROCEDURAL: The 90% of the Adriatic was planned for the drilling, the concession award was made ON THE CLOSED GOVERNMENT MEETING, far from the public eye, without any wider public debate and even without discussion at the Parliament and a strategic environmental impact study, which usually takes from one to one and a half year, was made in two months! And we are talking about a resource that only participates with tourism with a minimum of 15 percent per annum in GDP.

DEVELOPMENT: Involved in projects based on obsolete technologies of the last century at a time when there are clear alternatives to fossil fuels (not stone time ceased because of missing stone, but because somebody invented metal processing). Investing in renewable wind and solar energy sources, which we have to overcome without jeopardizing the environment, guarantees the development of the economy and new jobs!

ENVIRONMENT: Climate change contributing to fossil fuels is not a myth and we are now clearly seeing their consequences through all the extreme weather events. Of course, possible oil spills in a small, sealed sea like the Adriatic will have catastrophic consequences on the ecosystem.

I would like to be able to answer in this text all the transmissions sent by the Ministry and the Agency, but then the text would not be over. So here’s the answer to a few of the “the funniest ones”.

1. And in Italy there are oil platforms, so their tourism has not fallen.

There is no example in the world where oil exploitation successfully co-operates with tourism based on clean sea and healthy food. People in Venice do not come for a beautiful coast, nor is Rimini’s tourism based on the clean sea.

On the other hand, Basilicata, the region of Italy is very similar to our Dalmatia by the typology of the economy, has lost almost 10% of its GDP from 2001 to 2012 (data published in the SVIMEZ 2013 report) and, in that period, it has experienced a “boom of black gold “- extracting nearly 200,000 barrels of oil a day (70% of Italian oil and gas comes from that region). At the same time, many economic activities (tourism, fisheries, agriculture – and especially wine and olive production) have gradually and irretrievably disappeared, which have previously been supported by growth and growth. The oil sector has almost destroyed all other branches of the economy.

Even in such Italy, where profit is far ahead of the man and community, the platforms must be at least 23 km away from protected areas. In Croatia, this distance is set at 6 km. So much about high standards of environmental protection.

2. Gas is cheaper 10% this year because we get it from our existing platforms in the northern Adriatic.

Platforms in the north Adriatic have been here for over 15 years and lately, production has fallen. How is it suddenly the gas is cheaper? Where did that gas go all these years? The real question is why is there a better use of these platforms for Italians than us?

3. Italians drill, they have over 1000 platforms, if we do not drill we are idiots.

Italians don’t drill, the corporations do. The Italians have been fighting and fighting against drilling and platforms for years. The number of several hundred Italian oil platforms is mentioned. Italians in the Adriatic have a total of 9 oil platforms (7 production plants, 1 oil offshore center and 1 floating unit for temporary storage of oil).

Further, the fact is that the Adriatic streams partly protect us from pollution from their platforms (currents go along our coast to the north and down to the Italian coast to the south). It is important that the Italian coast is sandy and that any stains are relatively easy to remove. Our coastline is rocky and we would be cleaning rock by rock for 30 years (on Alaska, still on the rocky coast, they are removing oil from 1989 from Exxon Valdez).

Besides, the Italians do not only go to the Adriatic. For example, in Sardinia (the Sardinian and the Tyrrhenian Sea), the perennials of their tourism, you will not find any platforms. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have only one sea, one Adriatic and we can hardly afford to lose it.

4. The Adriatic already sails 4000 tankers per year and is more likely to be in danger than the platform.

And how is this an argument against drilling? They sail in our ZERP, under our jurisdiction and under no control. We are not able to control them and how do we then monitor new platforms and new tankers that will service the platforms? The 4000 tankers will continue to sail and we will add platforms, new tankers and, in addition, oil tanker operations from the platform to the tanker (as the oil will not be teleported from the platform to the coast). Okay, maybe it’s going to be underwater oil pipelines, but then it should be noted that pipelines outbursts are more frequent than tankers.

5. Let those who are against oil move into caves if they do not want to use technology.

Hardly any of us can become energetically independent and quite viable for the simple reason that it is too expensive and almost impossible. It is as if you want to drive a car on gasoline, that there are no gas stations or you want to be heated on electricity and there is no electrical network. The system, not the individuals, is the one that allows us to switch to better, more efficient and cleaner technology. We want our system to make use energy from renewable sources (eg wind and solar power plants), waste separation, compost, biogas and all that enables us to maintain the well-being of civilization, develop the economy, but at the same time do it in a sustainable way that does not destroy the environment from which we live.

Finally, the right of every Croatian citizen to be for or against oil drilling in the Adriatic and no one can condemn you for you or your attitude. However, the right of each citizen is to gain information about potential risks, potential gains and possible consequences before making their own decision. Finally, given the economic and emotional importance of the Adriatic for all of us, our right is, that the Government should be for an opinion instead of making decisions in closed sessions and then serving us as a final reality.

Mosor Prvan, B.Sc. biology and ecology
SOS for the Adriatic / Association Sunce

What is SOS for the Adriatic?

SOS for Adriatic is a campaign to preserve the entire Adriatic from oil pollution, not just stopping the planned activities in Croatia, but also accelerating the ending of existing production on the Italian side.

The Green Campaign is led by the Associations from the National Environmental Network Green Forum: Green Action (Zagreb), Sunce (Split), Green Istria (Pula), Žmergo (Opatija) and BIOM (Zagreb) in cooperation with Greenpeace Croatia and WWF Adria.