Serbia, SOCAR denied that it is interested in NIS acquisition

, SEE Energy News

State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) denied media reports that it intends to acquire a controlling stake in the Serbian oil company NIS.

The statement from the company said that in recent days, the Serbian media have reported that SOCAR is interested in acquiring a controlling stake in the Serbian NIS oil company, adding that this information is not true.

Russian GazpromNeft holds 56.15 % stake in the company. Since the launch of Russian invasion of Ukraine and the introduction of EU sanctions against Russian companies, there were fears that the operation of NIS will be in jeopardy. Croatian oil transportation company JANAF announced that it will stop supply crude oil to NIS after 15 May, however, the EU exempted Western Balkan countries from its sanctions, so the potential problems with the supply are avoided for now.

In order to ensure uninterrupted operation of the company and its oil refinery in Pancevo, Serbian Government has the option of nationalizing NIS, thereby returning it to the hands of the state. Serbia could also buy out the majority package of shares from Gazpromneft. The only other option is the sale of Russian share to a third party.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic confirmed that the Government is considering several option regarding the ownership of NIS, including the sale of Russian stake to another company.