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Monday, December 29, 2008

Gazprom to Buy Serbian Oil Refiner

23 December 2008 - Moscow Times, AP, Bloomberg - The Serbian Energy Ministry said Monday that it had reached an agreement to sell Gazprom its state oil refiner, Naftna Industrija Srbije, despite opposition from within the government. In exchange, Russia would agree to route its South Stream pipeline through Serbian territory, securing it long-term supplies and transit fees. "The deal will be initialed today and will be formally signed by Serbian President Boris Tadic and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow by the end of the week," said Dusan Mrakic, a state secretary with the Energy Ministry. Serbia's RTS TV reported that Gazprom Neft pledged to pay 400 million euros ($560 million) for 51 percent of NIS and invest a further 500 million euros in Serbia's oil industry. Serbia will keep 49 percent of NIS, and some decision-making powers, the station reported. Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic has long protested any such deal, saying Russia has given no firm guarantees that it will build the pipeline.

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