The Croatian government said on Aug. 29 it had awarded licenses for gas and oil exploration and exploitation on six blocks in its flat northeastern region to two local and two foreign companies.

The licenses were given to Croatia’s biggest energy group INA, owned jointly by Hungary’s MOL and the Croatian government; Canada’s Vermilion Energy; Hungary-based Aspect Croatia, a branch of the U.S. energy firm Aspect; and a smaller local firm Crodux Derivati.

INA and Crodux Derivati were given licenses for two exploration blocks each, while Vermilion and Aspect Croatia were awarded licenses for one block each. The blocks stretch across about 14,000 sq km.

The licenses are valid for 30 years at most.

Croatia imports some 80% of its oil needs and about 60% of the gas it consumes.