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Environmental Protection and Energy Minister Slaven Dobrovic said on Friday the approval of a EUR 102 million grant for the construction of a floating LNG terminal off the northern Adriatic island of Krk was an important step in the strengthening of Croatia's energy position which would bring new know-how and technologies as well as expand the use of gas in Croatia's economy and society.

"That's excellent news and a very strong and important step in the strengthening of Croatia on the energy map, a new source of gas for the whole area, the region and the neighbouring countries," Dobrovic told reporters, adding that the European grant was economically important as it would "bring new know-how and technologies."

He recalled that the value of the project was estimated at between 360 and 400 million euros, saying "the project will now be strongly pursued" and that the government's ambition was for the floating terminal to be in operation as early as 2019.

Dobrovic added that the EU approved another EUR 40 million for an electricity grid to be built with Slovenia.

He said the gas to be produced at the LNG terminal would primarily be used in transport, adding that there were plans to soon reduce and then ban heavy fuels for ships in the Mediterranean. "Gas is the only solution and we will have the opportunity very soon to offer ships a bankering system where we could fuel ships sailing on the Adriatic."

Asked if citizens could expect lower gas prices because of the LNG terminal, Dobrovic said "the price of gas is a market matter" and therefore difficult to predict, but that, when the offer was bigger, the market often reduced prices. "We've seen that with electricity," he added.

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