Sisak Refinery Closure Criticised by Opposition

By 22 December 2018

ZAGREB, December 22, 2018 - The MOST party said on Friday that by "stalling and abandoning plans for INA's buyout, the Plenković cabinet is making it possible for Hungarian oil and gas group MOL to blackmail Croatia into the announced closing of the Sisak refinery."

Asking Prime Minister Andrej Plenković what his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban had blackmailed him with, MOST wonders in a statement what "Croatia will get if Plenković has allowed Hungarians to close the refinery in Sisak and let them enter Petrokemija's management. They will soon start exporting INA's gas to themselves and who knows what else is in the offing? Isn't the price of Hungary's merciful blackmailer involvement in the LNG terminal, whereby Plenković is showing his commitment to the EU by seeking a future office in the Commission, too high?"

MOST further says that Prime Minister Plenković has personally appointed the Croatian members of the management of the INA oil company (jointly owned by Croatia and MOL) but that they are not representing INA's interests.

In the shareholders agreement on INA, MOL has undertaken to be a strategic partner but it has taken over INA's market and turned the company into an oil retailer, MOST says, claiming that Hungary is protecting its interests in a sovereign way while the Croatian government is incapable of organising a tender to buy back MOL's stake in INA.

SDP president Davor Bernardić visited Sisak to meet with Predrag Sekulić, unionist and spokesman for Sisak refinery workers, for talks on the current situation in the refinery following a decision by the INA oil company to stop refining oil in Sisak.

INA, which is owned jointly by Croatia and the Hungarian oil and gas group MOL, announced on Wednesday that it would concentrate its refining business in Rijeka, while the Sisak refinery would be converted into an industrial centre focusing on other activities.

"Had Plenković stuck to his pre-election promise of two years ago and restored Croatian ownership of INA, the Sisak refinery would not be facing closure. This government has not done anything in that regard and will be remembered for making the workers of Uljanik, 3. Maj and the Sisak refinery jobless," Bernardić said.

The SDP leader also wondered if the closure of the Sisak refinery and possible dropping of an indictment proposal against MOL executive Zsolt Hernadi had been agreed at recent talks between Plenković and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in exchange for Hungary's withdrawal of an arbitration lawsuit against Croatia in the INA case.

More news on the INA-MOL case can be found in our Business section.