The Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said on Friday that connecting the refinery in Bosanski Brod to Croatia's gas network was a violation of Bosnia's territorial integrity and that the project was never agreed to between the two countries.
“If pipes are placed across the border, that constitutes a violation of Bosnia’s territorial integrity. This is a very serious issue for the border police, State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) and Bosnia’s state attorney,” Dzaferovic said in the city of Banja Luka during an official visit.
He said that anyone who is responsible for that act has to answer for it because the gas pipeline was placed without the approval of the Bosnian Presidency, the Council of Ministers or the country’s parliament.
“That is anarchy and abuse and someone will have to answer for it…” he said.
A gas pipeline was placed under the Sava River on Thursday evening connecting the refinery in Bosanski Brod to Croatia’s gas network.
The project was agreed in 2017 with the mediation of Croatia’s then president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and in coordination with the authorities of the Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS).
Russia’s Zarubezhneft oil company is the owner of the Bosnian refinery and the objective was to have the refinery run on natural gas for production processes rather than on liquid fuel so as to help reduce air pollution which has been a problem for the two cities on either side of the Sava River, Bosanski Brod and Slavonski Brod.
The decision to connect only the refinery to the gas network is a result of the fact that RS authorities have been rejecting for years the idea of Bosnia and Herzegovina connecting to Croatia’s gas network at Slavonski Brod.
The incumbent Serb member of Bosnia’s presidency, Milorad Dodik, has personally blocked that project, making it clear that he wants the Serb entity to be connected to Serbia’s gas pipeline, which is supplied with Russian gas.
In an effort to resolve the problem of air pollution in Slavonski Brod, Croatia agreed to supply the refinery in Bosanski Brod with gas from its network because RS has still not started building a pipeline that would connect it to Serbia’s gas network.