ZAGREB Nov 20 Croatian oil and gas group INA will focus on domestic gas resources and spot markets when a supply contract with Italy's ENI runs out, rather than seeking a new long-term deal, it said on Wednesday.
INA's three-year gas supply contract with ENI expires at the end of December. Prior to ENI, Croatia's gas supplier for years was Russia's Gazprom.
"A contract with ENI expires on December 31, 2013. In that context, INA's (gas trading firm) Prirodni Plin kicked off preparations to secure sufficient gas quantities, primarily from domestic resources," INA said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Croatia satisfies some 60-65 percent of its gas needs from domestic wells exploited by INA. It consumes some three billion cubic metres of gas per year.
Croatia liberalised its gas market in a drive to join the European Union, which it did in July. So Prirodni Plin is not the only gas supplier in Croatia, though it remains dominant.
"Given the changed circumstances on the local gas market, Prirodni Plin has no plans to sign a new long-term contract, but will satisfy the needs of its consumers from domestic gas and through spot contracts," INA said.
INA's biggest shareholders are Hungarian energy group MOL , which owns close to 50 percent, and the Croatian government with an almost 45-percent stake.
The two sides are currently at loggerheads over management rights and investment policy in INA and have started talks on their future partnership.
Prirodni Plin uses underground natural gas depot Okoli in central Croatia, which has a capacity to store some 550 million cubic metres of gas and is able to pump out as much as 5.8 million cubic metres of gas per day. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Mark Potter)