Austria, Croatia want to build gas pipeline from Krk to Bavaria with EU funds

The premiers of Croatia, Austria, Slovenia and Bavaria have sent a letter to the European Commission about their intention to build with EU funds a gas pipeline from the Croatian LNG terminal to Bavaria which could also transport hydrogen, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday.

“Austria and Croatia are important partners in energy,” Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said at a joint press conference after meeting with Plenković, who is on an official visit to Vienna.

The Croatian LNG terminal on Krk island in the northern Adriatic is “a very important issue for Austria” and the two countries are cooperating on achieving independence from Russian gas, he said.

Austria’s storage facilities are 97% full, which Austria “could not even have dreamed of last year,” and other supply capacities have also been found, Nehammer said.

Austria is a landlocked country, so a gas supply infrastructure is very important to it. Nehammer singled out Croatia’s LNG terminal and the “good initiative” to connect it by pipeline to Slovenia, Austria and Bavaria. He visited the terminal late last year.

Croatia, Austria, Slovenia and Bavaria have sent a letter to the Commission president with a plan of investment in the pipeline, which would be built with European funds, said Plenković.

Croatia is increasing the capacity of its LNG terminal from 2.9 to 6.1 billion cubic metres, which is “twice as much” as Croatia needs, he added.

“Thereby we are making it possible for Croatia to help our neighbours in gas supply,” he said, adding that the pipeline will be built so it can also transport hydrogen, contributing to the continent’s energy transition.

Early this year, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy met the requirements for awarding grants for the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project, which envisages hydrogen production near the Krk LNG terminal.

Plenković and Nehammer commended Croatian-Austrian relations, notably in the economy, with Plenković saying that last year’s trade amounted to €3.4 billion and that Croatia cooperates with 800 Austrian firms.

Austrian and Croatian companies are very pleased with mutual investments and the trust achieved in trade, said Nehammer.

They also talked about the Croatian minority in Austria, with Plenković saying that about 50,000 Burgenland Croats living there are satisfied with their status and that another 100,000-130,000 Croatian citizens live in Austria.

He is due to meet Burgenland Croats tonight.

Plenković and Nehammer also extended support to Ukraine, EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, and to Israel in the fight against Hamas.

“We reiterated Israel’s right to security and self-defence, but also respecting international and humanitarian law, avoiding civilian victims and regional escalations,” Plenković  said, adding that further destabilisation in the Middle East would have direct repercussions on Europe.

Plenković is also due to meetВ with Austrian Parliament Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka.