MOL Chief Weighs in on Sanctions

Energy Trade

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Hungarian oil and gas company MOL chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi said time had shown that sanctions couldn't "bring Russia to its knees" at a talk on Saturday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Addressing an event in Esztergom organized by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, Hernádi said Russia had regrouped its supply routes and now 80% of the country's crude exports were going to India and China.

Speaking about the situation on the European energy market, he said the centers of gravity had shifted, but supply security risks remained "to a greater or lesser extent". The mild winter and a 22% reduction of gas consumption as prices soared had spared Europe from "supply security chaos", he added.

Hernádi called a report in the German media suggesting MOL and Turkiye were the biggest suppliers of diesel to Ukraine a "lie". About 6% of Ukraine's diesel imports come from Hungary, he added.

Touching on Hungary's regulated utility price scheme for households he said that part of the population was "in real need" of such support and pointed to the importance of allowing those people to benefit from the program. "Support for households is justified, but it can't apply to everybody," he added.

Hernádi said the macroeconomic and sectoral environment for MOL was "much worse" this year than last.

He compared the government's windfall profit tax levied on a number of sectors to an addictive drug: "You can use it once or twice, but afterward it should be phased out quickly or investments will be shelved". 

Hernádi said what's good for MOL is good for Hungary and vice versa. "A company headquartered in Hungary can only be strong if the Hungarian government is strong," he added.

The foundation that runs Mathias Corvinus Collegium, an interdisciplinary education institution that seeks to foster talent in the Carpathian Basin, holds a 10% stake in MOL.

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