PODGORICA (Montenegro), November 25 (SeeNews) - Foreign direct investments in Montenegro will remain flat at some 500 million euro ($649 million) in 2012 with energy having emerged as the country's most attractive sector for investors in the past few years, the deputy director of the Montenegrin Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA) said.
"[...] For the past two or three years, Montenegro has been keeping steady the level of foreign direct investments. We do not expect it to increase, it is going to be hopefully around the same level as last year, around 500 million euro," Blagota Radulovic told SeeNews on the sidelines of the Southeast Europe Business Forum in Istanbul on Friday.
SeeNews was media partner of the November 22-23 event organised by the Bulgaria Economic Forum.
The bulk of investments in the Southeast European country with a population of some 600,000 goes into energy, tourism, telecommunications and agriculture.
"Tourism is one of our biggest factors for investments traditionally but energy in the past few years has been taking over and gradually expanding," Radulovic said.
Hydro power generation in particular is one area where Montenegro has significant untapped potential as it is using only around 70% of its natural hydro resources.
"There are also opportunities for [investments in] thermal energy with coal pit Maoce and also the second phase of the Plevlja thermal plant."
Italy's A2A, a shareholder in the Rudnik Uglja Plevlja coal mine, is one of the biggest foreign investors in this sector.
"Hydro [power] is a priority, thermal [power] is also right there, wind - we have two major projects right now, a company from Spain and from Japan are doing the two projects [..]."
In 2010, Montenegro signed a contact with a consortium led by Spanish-based Fersa Energias Renovables for a 20-year lease over 502,858 square metres of land in the Mozura area, close to the Adriatic town of Ulcinj, for the construction of a 46 megawatt wind farm with an estimated cost of some 75 million euro.
A year later, the government in Podgorica signed a contract with a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Ivicom Consulting for the construction of a 50 megawatt wind farm in the Krnovo area, in the central municipality of Niksic.
"So renewable energy is something that we will put our focus on," Radulovic concluded.