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Croatian independent website Index.hr reports that the Emirate of Qatar is interested in several capital investments in Croatia's infrastructure, power industry, and tourism, and the United States also supports the economic cooperation between Qatar and Croatia. This is what US State Secretary Hillary Clinton reiterated during her recent visit to Zagreb and her bilateral talks with the Croatian state leadership, stressing the importance of the Qatari investment in the LNG [liquefied natural gas] terminal.
After Russia relinquished the Croatian segment of South Stream, the LNG terminal project on [the island of] Krk has been given strategic significance on the map of the European Union. The Qatari government wants to turn that part of the Croatian coast in a gas distribution hub for entire central Europe and beyond. According to the sources close to the government, in addition to the LNG terminal project in Omisalj, the Qatari government is also interested in investing in infrastructure and Croatian elite tourism in the area of Brijuni and Kupari.
Thirty Projects for Qatari Presented in PowerPoint: From Power Industry to Tourism and Infrastructure
This is what the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, conveyed to the representatives of the Croatian government through diplomatic channels. Today, he will be a host to Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and the Croatian government delegation, Principal Deputy Prime Minister Ratko [Radimir] Cacic and [Foreign] Minister Vesna Pusic. The economic part of the meeting will start with Principal Deputy Prime Minister Cacic's introductory remarks, followed by a presentation of all projects of potential interest to Qatari investors. Damir Novinic, director of the Investment and Competition Agency, will give a PowerPoint presentation to the Qatari state leadership and the most prominent businessmen of Qatar. We were told that the presentation would include some 30 projects in the spheres of power industry, tourism, and infrastructure.
The following main potential investment projects are: the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, 14 thermoelectric and hydroelectric power plants, the second stage of the Zagreb Coast [Zagrebacka obala] container terminal in the port of Rijeka, projects for Rijeka and Osijek airports, and the port of Vukovar. . . .
Majority or predominately state-owned potential greenfield and brownfield projects - such as the Kupari resort, which includes the conversion of former army property, hotel resorts of Plat and Maestral in the vicinity of Dubrovnik, as well as elite tourist resorts in the area of Pineta in Istria and certain parts of Brijuni Rivijera - will be presented in the tourism portfolio. The representatives of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Croatia will brief the Qatari state leadership about the progress of privatization of 13 companies majority owned by the Republic of Croatia worth 180 million euros ran by AUDIO [State Property Management Agency]. Moreover, the Qataris will also be presented a map of 50 potential golf courses throughout Croatia envisaged in physical plans, some of which are currently being prepared for tender in the framework of the Strategy for the Development of Croatian Tourism Until 2020.
Croatia's industrial potentials in military, wood-processing, pharmaceutical, and textile industry will also be presented, as well as the projects in the sphere of the railway industry with an emphasis on railway engine production and overhaul. Furthermore, the Qataris will be informed about the potentials of the Croatian industry of electric devices, generators, and optical technology.
LNG Terminals - Most Important
The most important project that the Croatian government will offer to Qatar is the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, for the preparation of which funds were allocated in June 2011 within the Western Balkan Investment Framework. Danish consortium COWI-IPF will prepare a conceptual solution by the end of the year, while feasibility and environmental impact study will be completed in June and July 2013. The conceptual solution necessary for the location permit will be completed in June 2013. The realization of the LNG project will be separated into three gradual stages and its value exceeds 750 million euros. However, since Qatar has also expressed interest in the construction of the gas-powered thermoelectric power plant and industrial facilities, the value of the Krk island project is bound to exceed two billion euros.
Moreover, the government will inform the Qatari investors about the introduction of the law that will speed up the flow of investments, as well as about the preparation of lex specialis [law governing a specific subject matter] interpretation of laws, the law that will facilitate capital investments of the biggest investors in Croatia.
The Government of the United States, which has strong diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, has lent wholehearted support to Croatia in its efforts to get closer to that Near Eastern country, the world's biggest investor. This is an opportunity Croatia cannot afford to miss but it remains to be seen to what extent this government is prepared to use that opportunity.
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