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Business

Bosnia Seeking International Consortium to Explore Oil

The energy map of Europe could be changing with a Serbo-Russian pipeline running through the Balkans and Bosnia drilling for oil with international partners.

Gas pump

Bosnia's oil project was disrupted by war

Bosnia's largest energy exploration group Energoinvest has invited bids from international partners to explore natural gas and domestic oilfields in the Muslim-Croatian part of the country in the South.

Potential bidders are expected to have a minimum capital of $100 million (70 million euros) already invested in oil, gas and mineral exploration over the past five years. The state-owned Energoinvest invited firms and investors to send non-binding letters of intent within a month.

So far, unnamed British, Canadian and Malaysian companies have expressed interest in drilling oil fields that may contain more than 100 million barrels. Decades ago, Energoinvest along with former British and US partners had already identified five potential sites worth exploring, but the project was disrupted due to the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Some 1,000 tons of crude were already pumped out in 1991. Record crude prices have now prompted the Bosnian government to revive oil and gas exploration.

Pipeline through the Balkans

In neighboring Serbia, lawmakers are discussing a large scale energy project with Russia, which envisages a pan-European pipeline running through the Balkans.

A multi-billion dollar contract was signed between Belgrade and Moscow in January, but it must be ratified in the Serbian parliament in order to be fully implemented. Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic has said that the huge contract will "turn Serbia into an important player on the energy map of Europe."

Pro-Western Serbian officials have criticized the deal however, since it includes selling Serbia's state monopoly on oil at the bargain basement price of only 400 million euros.

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