Gazprom presence in Serbia, Mining rent fee reform place ministers of energy and mining against each other

10. April 2013. / Mining

Minister of Energy Mihajlovic says that state didn’t make a decision for GazpromNEft NIS company mining rent fee to be changed as Minister Bacevic claims.

Mining rent fee for Naftna Industrija Srbije i.e. “Gaspromneft” won’t be changed because Serbia want to keep International Energy Agreement with Russia enforced- Milan Bacevic, Minister of Spatial Planning and Mining, stated for daily newspaper two days ago.

He stressed that Serbia can have larger income from NIS mining rent fee increase for 15 to 20 million EUR but it have to pay penalties to Gasprom for non withdrawn and arranged gas amounts – 300 million EUR yearly.

When she was asked if it is correct that state estimated oil rent for NIS to be cheaper if it isn’t changed but penalties are being paid to Gasprom, Minister of Energy Zorana Mihajlovic said for Politika that it’s not true that she had made such decision.

-I don’t understand how oil and gas are connected. We are obligated with this new agreement for gas delivery to pay penalties to Gasprom if we don’t withdraw 1,2 billion cubic of gas- Mihajlovic explains.

Except for that, this is not an exchange. NIS is one thing and gas is another thing. I am glad for every new success of NIS because it is a national success for Serbia which has 27% of property in this company. Interests of our country are in the first place because of all other companies that want to come to Serbia or are already here and have will to do researches and exploitations of domestic mineral treasures so this is the same for NIS, too- Minister Mihajlovic emphasized.

-How is this decided without my knowledge about it and I’m present at every governmental session- Mihajlovic asks.

Minister Bacevic explained that estimation given by his ministry that Serbia has bigger saving for unpaid gas amount than it would have from NIS mining rent fee was correct. Serbia has never paid for these penalties and that is the biggest possible good will gesture from our Russian friends- he explained.

This is the first time that two ministers of resources are not agreed about NIS mining rent fee. Minister Mihajlovic told to NIS that Serbia exploits oil too fast and that conditions for mineral resources use fee are achieved while Bacevic claimed that mining rent fee for NIS should not be increased because it can worsen economy relations between Serbia and Russia.

It is a fact that there is a huge gap between Mining Law and height of mining rent from the purchase contract signed with Russian partner. Fee was 3% at the time and Serbia obligated with a contract to stay that way until NIS returns investments invested in Serbia. The Law has been prescribing 7% rent fee for two years and it is calculated in total incomes but everything in the contract is the same.

The difference is more than two times bigger. It is a legal question how this problem is going to be solved. It is absurd that the low prescribes one thing and purchase contract another- people who are introduced to the problem say and add that it is more confusing that two ministers have completely opposite opinions about the same thing.

Source;Serbia Energy/ Politika/Agencies


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