Croatian Oil Company INA preferred in Kosovo

Prishtinë, May 18, 2006 – An Executive Decision authorizing the Croatian oil company INA to take over the possession, control and use of the Snake Fuel Depot in Kosovo was signed by UNMIK Chief Soren Jessen-Petersen. Prior to this, UNMIK and INA signed an agreement setting out the terms and conditions concerning INA’s operations at the Snake Fuel Depot.

The signing was witnessed by KFOR-Representatives and the Prime Minister of Kosovo on behalf of Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG). Under the UNMIK-INA Agreement, INA is to pay to the Kosovo Consolidated Budget through UNMIK a fixed monthly concession fee of € 22,000 Euros.

“INA taking over the Depot will be significant for Kosovo’s economy. Its proven track record as a major regional player in the fuel sector should provide efficient management of this important commercial facility. INA will ensure that a strategic fuel reserve for Kosovo is maintained at all times for use if necessary,” said the SRSG.

The depot is located in Bardosh (former Devet Jugovic), which is a state or publicly owned property. It has been under temporary administration and control of KFOR since late 1999 until KFOR withdrew from the Snake Fuel Depot and handed it over to UNMIK.

Nonetheless, as far as the daily paper Lajm is concerned, the governmental decision that brought the Croatian Oil Company to the oil business is a flagrant violation of freedom of trade and an attack on local businesses, which have invested a great deal in this sector and have the right to compete.

Prime Minister’s Spokeswoman Ulpiana Lama and INA Representative Josip Petkovic did not wish to comment on the issue of violating other competitors. The deeds of the government were also criticized by private businesses, which deal with the flow of oil products in Kosovo. The owner of the oil company Hib Petrol said that if there had been a tender, he himself would have competed. As far as he and many others are concerned, the government has acted in an unjust manner, reported Lajm.