Gazprom foreign policy in Serbia: Unusual Miller’s visit

17. April 2013. / News Serbia Energy

Aleksey Miller, the first man of Gasprom- one of the biggest world and Russian companies, visited Serbia few weeks ago. The goal of this visit remained very confusing because the contracts he signed with Jugorosgas (importer) and Srbijagas (reseller) in Belgrade are very poor in the case they contain only that which was published.

It was published that Russian energy giant will guarantee 1,5 billion cubic of natural gas to Serbia yearly by 2021 so the price of this gas will be decreased by 13% with reference to the last year delivery. The rest were conversations and discussions about possibilities of improvement of some future cooperation.

Why these contracts contain only these things, agency news mentioned, cannot explain the real reason of Miller’s visit to Blegrade where he met Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and the first Deputy President Aleksandar Vucic.

Firstly, Serbia is already importing between 1,2 and 1,5 billion cubic of gas which is very small amount from the point of international gas trade view and guaranteeing of such amount at the time of European and Serbian ebb tide in need for Russian gas (which has long-term tendency)  seems very pathetic.

The fact that Miller brought to Belgrade news that Serbian gas price will be decreased by 13% “according to the biggest preferential”- it is not anything spectacular because Izvestije from Moscow has already reported about decreasing gas price by 12 percent which is similar to the discount in Austria, Italy, Greece, Macedonia had gotten and much lower than discount to Poland for example (minus 27 percent), Bulgaria (minus 22 percent) or Germany (minus 16 percent), etc.

If Miller came to Belgrade to make a contract for construction of supposedly 4 gas TPPs in Serbia with 450 MW power each, then something is wrong again. We discussed those plants several times already but it remained confusing if those plants will be Russian or Serbian or if we directly negotiate amounts and preferential gas prices.

Who knows, how low the price must be (or maybe high) when the construction is completed- so electricity produced there can be competitive on European, on Serbian market especially.

Miller also said that if plants are constructed and Serbian industry is recovered, Serbia can count on 3,9 billion cubic of gas from pipeline “South Stream” what would lead to the conclusion that planned plants would, however, be Serbian and that Serbia would have to use meaningful investment assets for them (but from which sources?)

Miller simply informed Serbian hosts that the construction of South Stream is being postponed for a year what contributed to this certain confusion. The ceremonial beginning of works was on the coast of Black Sea already in autumn and the ground stone was set by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Miller’s statement also contributed the confusion of this visit. He said that Gasprom invested 2 million dollars in Serbia which seams imprecise and overestimated. Imprecise because Serbia is the owner or a third of NIS which is the investor in Serbia- considering the volume of investments NIS stated to the public during these years.

Something that might be the reason for Miller’s visit came to public at the end of last week. As Blic reports, Miller claimed to his hosts that some individuals in Serbia obstruct the project South Stream and that Dusan Bajatovic is the guaranty for this partnership.

If this is not some speculation based on false information (Minister Mihajlovic said that this is a fiction) then Russian side is pretty much involved in domestic fight between SPS and SNS about that who will really control the energy.

SPS has taken its place in this sector long time ago and they mind if some Minister from coalition team is not good for EPS especially because she wants to arrest their favorite national tycoon from Srbijagas who is Dacic’s chosen cooperator at the same time.

On the other side, SNS seems to realize that who direct the energy sector, direct the whole Serbia which is maybe even more important because it becomes the main cooperator of Moscow this way. It is not enough for Moscow that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic keeps saying that “Serbia will justify the confidence of Russian investors”. New IB resolution seems to threaten us.

Source ;Serbia Energy/Novi Magazin/Agencies

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