MOL sees less promise in Mako Trough gas exploration project

Nov 15, 2009 01:00 AM

A gas exploration programme that Hungary's MOL is involved in with partners in the Mako Trough is not as promising as hoped at the start, CEO Zsolt Hernadi said.
"The full-scale assessment of the final results has not been closed yet. This is an unconventional exploration programme, requiring professional and technological solutions unlike our usual practice. The gas is there, we have known that for thirty years. The problem is we do not know how to bring it up to the surface and whether it is worthwhile to bring it up," Hernadi told. "If the decision is to not bring it up for the moment, it does not mean we will never bring it up, only that we must not yet do it with the current technology and in today's market climate."

MOL is involved in the programme with ExxonMobil and Denver-based Falcon Oil and Gas. Falcon said at the beginning of November that the initial work programme, which involved a $ 50 mm (EUR 35 mm) commitment by ExxonMobil and MOL, had been completed.
Hernadi said MOL would not swap its stake in its Croatian unit INA for Russian peer Surgutneftegaz's MOL shares. It was reported earlier that Surgutneftegaz would part with its MOL shares if it could have MOL's stake in INA.

Surgutneftegaz acquired the 21.2 % stake in MOL from Austria's OMV at the end of March. MOL's management called the deal unfriendly and Hungary's president expressed concern about the transaction.
MOL raised its stake in INA to 47.2 % in a public-purchase offer in the autumn of 2008. The state of Croatia owns 44.8 %. MOL continues to view Surgutneftegaz as a financial rather than a strategic investor, Hernadi told.

Source / Budapest Business Journal
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