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    Croatia tells MOL to halt gas exports to Hungary: press


Croatian economy minister also says INA's president has resigned and plans to dismiss the entire board of directors in the coming days.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Security of Supply, Corporate, Exploration & Production, News By Country, Hungary, Romania

Croatia tells MOL to halt gas exports to Hungary: press

Croatia's government has ordered Hungary-based energy group MOL to halt gas exports from Croatian concessions into Hungary's consumer market, to protect domestic energy security as the winter season approaches, HRT reported September 7.

Filipovic says MOL should expect to receive a government order mandating all gas quantities go to Croatian citizens, institutions and companies. The order relates to Zagreb-listed oil and gas producer INA, in which MOL and the Croatian government are the biggest shareholders.

INA is expected to produce 703mn m3 of gas in 2022, according to Croatia's minister of economy, Davor Filipovic. INA president Andrew Fasimon has also handed his resignation to Filipovic, following a terse meeting over perceived corporate governance failures. Government officials say INA has allowed low-level managers to execute flawed business strategies, and insist the system must be strengthened.

Filipovic proposes the entire INA board of directors should be dismissed, HRT said, potentially at the next supervisory board meeting on September 21. The minister will seek authority from the Croatian legislature September 9 to support the dismissals.

Controversially, he noted INA's board was a "collective body in which the Hungarian side has the majority", stoking a regional feud with the Hungarian administration in Budapest. Croatian president Zoran Milanovic reacted negatively to Hungarian leader Viktor Orban's use of historical Hungarian borders to showcase its supposed influence over the region. Croatia is home to a significant ethnic minority of Hungarians.

"We have a situation of a big corporate scandal," Filipovic said, "The management is responsible for managing the company's affairs. Nothing like this has ever happened. Therefore, the only logical thing is for the entire management to leave. "

INA's upstream portfolio encompasses production-stage assets in Croatia, Egypt and Angola, which together hold a reserves potential of around 75.1mn barrels of oil equivalent, across 38 onshore oil fields and 17 gas fields, and 11 further gas fields situated offshore, according to the company's website.