Slovenian energy group Petrol closed all of 110 petrol stations it operates in Croatia for an hour on 28 December in a sign of protest against the Croatian Government’s cap on fuel prices.
The Croatian Government introduced the price cap in an effort to mitigate the negative consequences of spiraling oil prices. However, many feel that this kind of intervention will only produce negative results for both distributors and consumers.
Petrol says that the Government interventions have cost the company more than 45 million euros in Croatia. The company once again called on Government to withdraw its measures, saying that if it doesn’t they will take their case to court.
However, Croatian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipovic said that he was shocked by this behavior from Petrol, because he personally communicated with INA and Petrol about a month ago, and it was said that if there is a stabilization of prices on the Mediterranean market, that their margins will return to levels in June, when trading margins were 0.1 euros.
Petrol board member Nikola Knez said that Government’s proposed plan to lift its cap on fuel prices in a bid to revive profit margins at an undisclosed date in the future was less than sustainable for distributors, adding that Minister Filipovic tabled an offer regarding an increase of sorts. However, Petrol argued that procurement conditions are simply many times higher in relation to that increase and that the proposal would put Petrol in an even more unfavourable position than it already has been this year.