February 4, 2016 / 3:37 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Montenegro awards 30-year oil concessions to Eni, Novatek

(Adds spokeswoman’s comments, deails)

PODGORICA, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Montenegrin government awarded 30-year concessions for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic sea to a consortium of Italy’s Eni and Russian No. 2 gas firm Novatek, an economy ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The concessions for four blocks have been awarded in line with the terms of a 2014 tender, pending parliamentary approval, she said.

“Bank guarantee for the fulfilment of programmes is set at around 85 million euros ($95.21 million) ... if the parliament supports the deal, contracts will be signed and then drilling and exploration can commence,” she said without elaborating.

The 2015 tender initially offered drilling and exploitation rights for 13 blocks, covering an area of 3,000 sq km.

Montenegro, a small Balkan country and candidate for European Union membership, produces no oil but initial data has indicated it might have enough resources to cover its oil and gas demand.

The need for new energy sources is acute across the Balkans, a region that has lacked investments for nearly two decades due to war in the 1990 and political turmoil.

$1 = 0.8928 euros Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Susan Thomas

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