Zagreb, January 16 (MTI) – Hungarian petrol and gas company MOL is ready to speed up the pace of talks with its Croatian peer INA and is seeking to boost the company’ upstream output, Jozsef Molnar, MOL’s director general said on Thursday.
Talking to journalists in Zagreb after a round of talks with the Croatian side, he said the company urged the issuing of licences for procedures. “Based on our business plan, in case we get the necessary licences in time, INA could increase its daily output by 4,300 barrels in the short term and by 9,000 in the long run”, he added. This would mean raising the output by 10 and 20 percent, respectively, Molnar said. He added that the higher output could generate several hundred million kunas for the Croatian economy. “On the basis of talks today we are prepared to continue talks at an accelerated pace,” he said.
MOL holds just a fraction less than a controlling stake in INA, while the Croatian government owns almost 45 percent. The two shareholders have long been at odds over the way the company is managed.
The talks on Thursday were the third in a series. INA’s licences in Croatia produced 8,653 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of crude oil and 26,861 boe daily in the first three quarters of last year, the company’s latest earnings report shows.
In an interview with Reuters last week, Alexander Dodds, who heads exploration and production at MOL, said that getting permits for production on already discovered or developed fields was the main challenge in Croatia. “If I were a Croatian, I would be very frustrated, because today in Croatia INA has access to licenses that they could switch on that would produce 4,000-4,300 barrels (per) day of oil equivalent. It’s not been approved,” Dodds told Reuters.
In a statement published on the Croatian government’s website after Thursday’s consultations, Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak said individual open issues can be discussed but an agreement cannot be expected unless the dispute on company management rights is closed. Hungary seems to be open to making concessions because Molnar highlighted that the talks were carried out in a spirit of cooperation and a more open atmosphere than in the past, Vrdoljak added.
Croatian television (HRT) also reported an improvement in the atmosphere at the talks.