Serbia and SE Europe need investments in the oil and gas industries, and new commercial oil deposits to reduce their dependence on imports, Petar Škundric says.
Škundric, now serving as prime minister’s energy adviser, and previously as energy minister in the Cvetkovic cabinet, made the statement in Belgrade on Thursday during the opening address at the start of the 3rd Oil Forum of the Energy Community.
Energy Community Secretariat Director Slavtcho Neykov attended the ceremony.
Investments need to be directed into infrastructure, underground storage facilities for natural gas and oil shales exploitation, which can yield both oil and natural gas, Škundric remarked. However, he also noted Serbia had already made significant progress in some important projects regarding energy, and mentioned the Banatski Dvor gas storage facility, South Stream pipeline and the modernization of the Pancevo refinery.
“All of this helps raise Serbia’s energy independence significantly,” Škundric stated, adding that a new law on commodity reserves would be passed soon, defining the required reserve of oil.
Serbia has adopted a new law on energy, which will help bring its energy industry closer to the rules governing that sector in the EU. The government also liberalized the market for oil products earlier this year, he added.
Serbia opened its market to private capital, including oil companies, more than 20 years ago, he said.
The transformation of the EU economy into one with a low emission of greenhouse gases, reaching the level of 85 to 90 percent by 2050, will pose new challenges for the oil industry, which will affect Southeastern Europe as well, Škundric pointed out.
The forum will focus on the oil market, exploitation, production and processing, energy safety and the region’s supply of oil and other fossil fuels. It is organized by the Energy Community and Serbian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy.