According to economy analyst Bogdan Petrovic, Serbia has to reason to nationalize oil company NIS, unless the European Union threatens to impose sanctions against Serbia for doing business with Russian companies. Until that happens, the Government should not even consider such option.
He said that even the Government decides to nationalize NIS, the problem with crude oil supply remains, because it cannot rely on Russian oil any more.
Petrovic adds that the nationalization of the company would cause two big problems. NIS is currently a part of a large company GazpromNeft, which will cover any potential losses, instead of the state in case of nationalization. Furthermore, prior to 2008, when the state was the majority shareholder of NIS, it proved that it doesn’t know how to efficiently manage the company, so there is a risk that NIS will start to accumulate losses again under the state management.
Earlier this month, Serbian media reported that State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) is interested in the purchase of Russian stake in NIS, but the company later denied such reports.
Petrovic added that it is possible that GazpromNeft could sell its stake in NIS to a front company in order to avoid sanctions, and it could later buy back the stake.
Serbian oil company NIS is majority owned by Russian GazpromNeft, which holds 56.15 % stake in the company.