US official: MOL/INA dispute is regional problem

Deals

A top US energy official has informed Croatia’s economy minister that the Croatian government and Hungary-based MOL must resolve differences regarding management and ownership of MOL’s peer INA among themselves.

Croatian daily newspaper Vecernji List reported today that in a meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy Amos Hochstein and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Yee, Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak had pushed the topic of the MOL/INA dispute to the forefront of the agenda to little avail, as Hochstein ultimately labeled the clash a regional issue.

Vrdoljak told local media after the meeting that he and Hochstein had “agreed that energy strategies should be regional and contribute to regional energy sustainability” and that “Croatia’s energy projects have an important role in securing a reliable and diversified supply of energy products to the region and Europe [as a whole].”

Vecernji List learned via anonymous source last week that INA would be under discussion at the meet due to US-based ExxonMobil’s recent declared interest in drilling in the Adriatic; speculation that the US parties would attempt to convince Vrdoljak et al not to sell the government stake in INA to a Russia-based company apparently never manifested at the meeting.

The impasse regarding management of INA thus remains knotted, it seems…

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