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Montenegro

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MONTENEGRO


  
  

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)


Update No: 123 - (31/08/07)

Everybody who has any interest in Balkan affairs now knows about Montenegro. It is known, after just over one year of independence, to be a tourist jewel and the most dynamic property market anywhere.

There was always the intriguing possibility that it may have large oil and gas reserves off-shore in the Adriatic sea. For a small population, this could be a bonanza.

Montenegro To Research Oil and Gas Deposits
Possible oil deposits in Montenegro are estimated at 7 billion barrels, while the natural gas deposits could amount to 425 billion cubic meters, the country's development strategy revealed on August 24th.

The Strategy for Energy Development to 2025 in Montenegro has also said that the "real commercial promise of hitherto unknown oil and gas deposits in the Montenegrin seabed can be stipulated, after making new boreholes in certain areas."

The document was crafted by Slovenian experts, giving it greater credibility. It has also said that "if there is a recent finding of commercial beds, important production could be developed."

The Montenegrin government is preparing a tender for concessions aimed at researching oil resources, off the southern town of Ulcinj. According to the Ministry of Economic Development the bid will be launched later in 2007, following the completion of field research, Podgorica-based 'Republika Daily' reported. 

"The Government will establish an independent commission, tasked with preparing an analysis of oil and gas resources in the Montenegrin sea bed so far", Radonja Minic, deputy minister for economic development was quoted as saying. 

Earlier this year, Montenegrin authorities dismissed a report prepared by the Hellenic Petroleum company on oil and gas resources, published in July. The document had said that there were only a few natural gas deposits in the Montenegrin Adriatic basin. Who is right will no doubt emerge over time. 

Montenegro Sets Record Number of Cell Phone Users
There are many signs of how rapidly the new nation is modernising. The number of cell phone users in Montenegro is 42 percent higher than the country's total population, the Agency for Telecommunications said on August 24th.

The agency said it registered 881,500 cell phone users in July, the highest figure ever. The previous record was set last September last year with 791,251. Montenegro has a population of 630.000.

The latest report also included figures from the M:tel, the country's newest operator, which covers 5.16 percent of the market. Montenegro's largest mobile telephony operators are the ProMonte with 54.7 percent and the T-Mobile with 40.14 percent of the market share.

In the report, the agency said that the reason for an increase of cell phone users is the number of tourists and the launch of a new mobile operator. "Usually, there are some 10 percent more users than residents. But, since July we have another operator and some 100.000 tourists," a agency official told Balkan Insight on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to talk to the press.

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Montenegro has had consistently good news for just over a year since its independence. Now comes a downer, how serious it is not yet possible to say. 

Stricken Ship Threatens Montenegro's Coast
The Montenegrin coast is at risk of an ecological disaster after a Greek tanker partly sank in Montenegrin port of Bijela on August 10th. The ship's stern and its 215 tonnes of oil remain on the seabed, threatening to pollute the sea should the oil leak. The ecological consequences of such spills are usually serious and long-lasting.

"WHISTLING IN THE DARK"
So far officials from the Adriatic Shipyard company say there is no threat of the ship turning on the seabed and spilling its oil. Stanko Zlokovic, president of the board of Adriatic Shipyard, told Balkan Insight on August 13th, that "The risk of an oil leak exists just as a theory. Only if there is another big storm again the ship would sink totally, but so far it is stable," Zlokovic said. 

"Mexica", owned by the Greek company Zamounis and Associates, partly sank, during a severe storm in Boka Kotorska Bay. The ship had been brought to the shipyard for repair and was scheduled to leave in 15 days. There are 200 tonnes of heavy and 15 tonnes of light oil in the vessel.

Zlokovic said it is impossible to start salvaging the ship without the permission of Ministry of Maritime affairs. "We hope they will finish the elaboration in next seven days so we can take the ship out of the water", Zlokovic said. He added that people are swimming near the spot, just as before the ship sank. There is some oil and dirt around the ship, according to Zlokovic because it sank in an industrial area, but he says it has not spread.

The Director of Institute for Marine Biology in Kotor, Sreten Mandic, says the fuel is contained for now, but if it should leak, the sea in the whole bay would be polluted. "It would be a disaster if the oil leaks out. That would be fatal for the sea plants and fish", Mandic told Balkan Insight.

It would not exactly help the new country's main industry, tourism, either.

According to research, just eight grams of oil is enough to pollute a cubic metre of sea, while one cubic meter of oil removes the oxygen from 400,000 cubic metres of sea. It is estimated that ten million tones of oil pollute the world's seas every year.

Macedonia, Montenegro to team up for markets abroad
Macedonia and Montenegro may jointly place their surplus of agricultural products on world's major markets together.

Macedonian Agriculture Minister Aco Spasenovski and Montenegrin Agriculture Minister Milutin Simonovic discussed the possibility of setting up a regional agricultural stock exchange through donor support, Podgorica's daily "Vijesti" has said. 

"Thus, Macedonia and Montenegro could emerge with a joint offer in the stock market, along with Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, which will give the farmers a bigger chance to place their products," Simonovic said.

At a joint press conference in Podgorica, Spasenovski underscored southeast Europe's comparative advantages in terms of agriculture, but also that the region is not competitive enough and it needs a joint approach. "Farmers should support each other through subsidies and other measures, but they shouldn't stay on guard all the time. Therefore, they should consider joint ventures."

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