Serbia: Energy Minister Antic about the overall energy sector reform and issues on the path

, News Serbia Energy

We need a financial consultant for Serbiagas, because the Serbian Government cannot solve this situation on its own, the Minister of Energy Aleksandar Antić says.

Antić said that the company would become a holding with a transport operator and a distribution i.e. supply system operator as of 1st July.

The Minister also said that the receivables of Serbiagas amounted to around one billion dollars at that moment, and that the companies undergoing restructuring had the largest debts, of which the Petrochemical and the Nytrogen Plant represented fifty percent.

Antić reminded that, in December 2014, the Government had adopted the restructuring plan for Serbiagas, which should be a much more efficient company, so that it should be reorganized by 1st July, and the functions in this public enterprise should be divided into a company that would be a gas transport operator and a gas supply company.

The financial consolidation of Serbiagas is discussed with the EBRD and the World Bank and the goal is to find a financial consultant who will propose a plan for the recovery of debts towards Serbiagas which have grown to around one billion dollars to this day.

As a reminder, when adopting the Budget for 2015, the representatives of the Serbian Government claimed that Serbiagas had to become profitable and that everyone had to pay for gas.

“Serbiagas has to make its functioning economically sustainable, to increase collection and the efficiency of business operations”, said Antić.

In addition, on this occasion it was also announced that the Government would no longer provide Serbiagas with guarantees for borrowing.

Antić also commented about the reorganization of the Electric Power Industry of Serbia and stated that, by 1st July, the EPS should become the EPS group, consisting of an integral electric power distribution and the EPS supply.

The new company EPS Group should be a modern group in which there would be a parent company as the founder of two companies – the distribution system, instead of the six regional electricity distributions and another company, the EPS supply, instead of the today’s 14 subsidiaries, which used to have 43 directors altogether.

The business operations of the EPS Group will be much more efficient and it will not be a “black hole” in the system of public enterprises.

The Minister of Energy mentioned that a strategic partner for the petrochemical complex was searched for.

For many years, Serbia [had] not built any energy facilities and our country [was] in the process of negotiating with Chinese partners about a financial arrangement for the construction of a new block in the thermal power plant Kostolac which [would] have the installed capacity of 350 megawatts, and the overall investment [would] be worth around 700 million euros, Antić announced and mentioned that it should be finished by 2019.

One of the biggest successes of the Ministry of Energy [was] the new Energy Law which [had] received the highest rating from the European Committee and Serbia [was] the only country within the region that [had] adopted the third energy package by this law, which [was] in conformity with the European legislation, said Antić. This law [was] a serious call for investors to invest in Serbia and it [guaranteed] the security of their investments, Antić said.