Serbia NIS urges consumers to pay for gas and oil products

Sep 23, 1998 02:00 AM

Serbia's state-run oil monopoly Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) urged domestic natural gas and oil products consumers to pay their bills for delivered products if they want to have a steady supply over the winter.
"Regular payments for delivered gas and oil products is the key issue which can jeopardise supply this winter. We all know that both gas and crude deliveries must be paid for either in goods or in cash," said Milan Djakovic, NIS general manager.
Yugoslavia in 1996 signed barter deals with Russia and China on natural gas and crude oil supplies which envisage possibility for 25 % and 50 % deliveries to be paid for in cash respectively and the remaining part in exports of Yugoslav goods and services.
Djakovic said that NIS had contracted deals for the export of $ 80 mm worth of home-made goods.
Due to incapability of local industries to counter gas and crude deliveries, the state must find cash to pay for supplies.
Addressing a meeting of top managers, Djakovic said that foreign partners had tolerated Yugosolavia's irregular payments for delivered products during sanctions years.
"But sanctions have formally been lifted and our partners have stopped tolerating our late payments and debts. They first notify us that we must pay and then they reduce or stop their deliveries," he said and added that NIS would apply similar measures at home for irregular payers.
"Consumers must pay for used energy or, if not, they will face shortage of supplies," he said.
NIS claims around 3.0 bn dinars ($ 297 mm) from its consumers for delivered gas and oil products. "NIS is simply in no position to credit such a big debt. Gas and oil products will be available for those who pay," he said.

Yugoslavia is highly dependent on natural gas and oil derivatives imports as over 75 % must be purchased abroad to meet domestic needs.
This year gas consumption was estimated to rise 17.9 % to 3.1 bn cm, of which only 600 mm to be secured from domestic production.
The country planned to import 2.3 mm tonnes of crude this year, but foreign currency shortage slashed January-June planned imports by 32.4 % to 907,000 tonnes.
Cash-strapped NIS suffered a 2.5 bn dinars loss in the first half of the year, according to the company report.
The size of NIS debts for gas and crude deliveries to Russia and China are kept a secret, but analysts estimate they top $ 170 mm and $ 200 mm respectively.
($ -10.1 Yugoslav dinars)

Source: not available
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