Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Alexei Miller said on Monday in Pancevo near Belgrade that natural gas prices could go down in the first quarter of 2012.
However, did not specify by what amount the prices would be reduced.
Miller told a press conference at the NIS-owned refinery in Pancevo that the price of gas, which now stands at about USD 500 per one thousand cubic meters, is calculated on a nine-month basis, following a complex formula which tracks the oil price movements at the world’s market.
He said that he discussed the cooperation between Gazprom and Serbia with Serbian President Boris Tadic, and expressed satisfaction with the cooperation that led to the output growth of more than 30 percent in the case of the Serbian Oil Industry (NIS), after its privatization in late 2008, when Gazprom Neft became a majority owner of NIS.
Miller said that NIS’s resource base increased by 5.5 percent since then, and stressed that Serbian government officials assured him that the mineral rent for NIS will remain the same in the next period.
Speaking of Russian gas exports to the EU market, Miller said that, when compared to 2010, the export will go up by 25 percent this year.
He also said that gas export to the EU could reach as much as 112 billion cubic meters of natural gas, and, thanks to the launching of the Nord Stream pipeline across Baltic, an even greater export of gas to EU is expected in 2012.
According to Miller, NIS is the heart of strategic cooperation between Serbia and Russia in the energy sector, which is the largest investment not only in Serbia, but also in the Balkans.
“NIS expanding presence”
President Boris Tadic expressed his satisfaction over the cooperation with the Gazprom company as a crucial point in the economic cooperation between Serbia and Russia, adding that NIS is interested in expanding its presence in the Southeast and Central Europe.
“NIS is not only Serbia’s national industry, it is also an industry that could be an important participant in the energy market of the entire Southeast Europe, with a possibility to penetrate the Central European market,” Tadic said at the ceremony marking the opening of a new command center for all production facilities at the Pancevo refinery.
“I am very happy with the level of cooperation with Gazprom in previous years, which is at the heart of Serbia-Russia economic cooperation. Several years ago we launched talks, and created the idea of Gazprom’s arrival at the Serbian market, and after that the expansion of Gazprom in the region,” Tadic underlined.
We agreed that all our activities should be aimed at further strengthening of relations in the energy area, he said.
Further investments in other regional gas and oil companies are necessary, as well as the South Stream project, and the construction of a new gas-fired electric power plant, he said.
“I believe that at the end of the road we can imagine Serbia becoming an energy junction of the Southeast Europe,” Tadic stressed.
He commended the NIS leadership on the investments realized in accordance with the signed agreements.
“Plenty has been done. One half of planned investments for modernization of oil refineries in Pancevo have already been made,” he underlined.
Tadic said he expects “further investments from Russia and talks on other issues besides energy”.