According to Croatian regulations, in all protection areas, except in the strict reserve category, where the performance of economic activities is prohibited, activities are allowed if they do not violate the features due to which the area was declared protected.
In Europe, there are protected areas where it is possible to carry out hydrocarbon exploitation activities, but under very strict conditions. An example of this is the Wadden Sea, which is a National Park in three countries (Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands), and is also on the World Heritage List (UNESCO 2009). Germany’s largest crude oil deposit is located on the southern edge of this National Park. Since the beginning of production in 1987, 25 million tonnes of oil have been extracted from deposits at depths of 2,000-3,000 meters. Oil exploitation in the sensitive ecosystem has so far been carried out without incident. The project is characterised by technical innovations and a safety concept that combines high environmental standards and protection, and represents a model for environmentally responsible oil exploitation.
A similar example is the exploitation of hydrocarbons in Liverpool Bay, close to the coast and in an area of high ecological sensitivity, where activities practically take place within the Ramsar Area and the area of interest for the protection of birds. The activities themselves, in addition to oil exploitation, also include an onshore terminal as well as other infrastructure, including pipelines and vessels.