The Croatian government has awarded two firms contracts for four onshore oil and gas exploration blocks in the country’s northern and eastern zones for a total investment of $75m, according to Oil Price. The two companies are the local energy firm named INA and the Canadian company Vermilion.

The contracts enable each of the two companies to explore their given blocks for a period of five years and give them concessions for 25 years if any commercially viable fields are discovered.

Reuters quoted the Croatian Prime Minister, Tihomir Oreskovic, saying: “We have secured an investment worth 500 million kuna ($75m) and much more if oil or gas is found. Croatia needs investments and this is a step towards a better investment climate.”

In addition, Reuters wrote, another concession was awarded to the Nigerian company Oando Plc and the contract will be signed shortly.

In attempts to further boost exploration in the country, the Croatian Economy Minister, Tomislav Panenic, confirmed that possibly in July, another round of tenders for onshore oil and gas exploration will be announced.