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)