Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Croatia Loses Arbitration Case on INA to MOL

ZAGREB, 6 July 2022 - Croatia has lost an arbitration case regarding INA brought by the Hungarian oil company MOL, in which MOL alleged that the Croatian government did not honour its obligations from a gas business agreement, the Večernji List daily said on Wednesday. 

According to unofficial information, having lost the case, Croatia will have to pay between 250 and 300 million US dollars, including interest. Croatia's objections regarding corruption during the purchase of INA by MOL from the Croatian state were rejected as well.

The case was dealt with by the International Court for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington.

It was launched in 2013 by MOL, which claimed that Croatia had not honoured its obligations from a master agreement on gas business and its annexes.

Under that agreement, signed in 2009, INA was to divest a part of its (nonprofitable) gas business by having the state take over the underground gas storage facility at Okoli, which the state did, but it did not take over gas trade as well, which was the reason for MOL's lawsuit.

This is the second arbitration case Croatia has lost to MOL. The first one was dealt with by the UN Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in late 2016 said that Croatia would buy back MOL's stake in INA and the process is still under way.

MOL is the single largest shareholder in INA, holding 49.1% of the stock (4,908,207 shares), while the Croatian government holds 4,483,552 shares, or 44.8%. Private and institutional shareholders hold 608,241 shares, or 6.1%.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Hungary Wants More Oil via Croatian Pipeline

ZAGREB, 31 May 2022 - Hungarian Foreign Peter Szijjarto has requested an urgent meeting with Croatian Economy Minister Davor Filipović, according to informed sources, Večernji List daily said on Tuesday.

Szijjarto wanted to meet with Filipović yesterday when Croatia marked Statehood Day and suggested meeting at the Zagreb airport's VIP lounge.

According to the Economy Ministry, Filipović refused, finding it unacceptable to meet on Statehood Day and especially to do so at the airport's VIP lounge. Filipović suggested meeting at the ministry today.

According to Večernji's well-informed sources, Szijjarto wants to talk about oil and its transport by the Croatian JANAF pipeline to Hungarian energy group MOL's refineries, which now receive Russian oil by the Druzhba pipeline.

Although it is expected that after imposing sanctions on Russian oil imports, the EU will allow Hungary and Slovakia to receive Russian oil by Druzhba for a while longer, the two countries will have to commit to doing everything to switch the supply route to JANAF, the daily said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has tried to explain Hungary's objections to a Russian oil embargo by claiming that JANAF does not have sufficient capacity to transport oil to Hungary, which is false, the daily said, adding that Hungary will evidently have to admit this if it seeks urgent meetings with the Croatian minister in charge of energy.

Evidently, Hungary must urgently ensure alternative supply routes for two MOL refineries in Hungary and Slovakia, for which it depends on Croatia and will now have to be nicer in its relations with Croatia, the daily quotes its sources as saying.

For more, check out our politics section.