Croatia to start top-level talks with U.S. over INA sale

Mar 05, 2014 12:00 AM

Top-level negotiations may start within two weeks between the governments of the United States and Croatia about refiner INA and natural gas and oil fields on the Adriatic Sea, Croatian daily Vecernji list reported.

Citing reliable sources the paper said the top-level talks will be on the potential sale of INA to a U.S. buyer.
After Exxon Mobile had expressed an interest in the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, other oil companies began to show interest for these resources too, the paper added.

 

The sources claim Washington will try to talk the Croatian government out of selling its stake in INA to the Russians, but they do not find it likely that a U.S. investor will buy a stake in the Croatian refiner. In that case Zagreb could ask the U.S. to help solve problems with Hungarian fuels group MOL which holds a 49.1% package in INA, for which they have the necessary political clout.

If MOL sold its INA shares and the Croatian government would also divest a 19% package, for which it would ask not one but two billion euros. The empty budget would not ask where the funding is coming from.

Europe’s energy market hinges on the Ukrainian situation, and if that takes a wrong turn selling INA will certainly be off the table, the paper said.

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