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MMBF's new gas storage facility to be filled up by autumn

MMBF gas storage is to complete filling of its new 700 million cubic-meter commercial gas storage facility by the autumn, the business daily Világgazdaság said, quoting CEO István Gáti.

MMBF is 72.5% owned by Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and 27.5% is held by the Hungarian Hydrocarbon Stockpiling Association (MSzKSz).

The new facility will create competition to E.ON Gas Storage which has storage capacity of 4.8 billion cubic-meters, the paper said.

A new player, Pusztaföldvár Gas Storage Zrt, with plans to build 1 billion cubic meters of capacity will enter the market soon, the paper said, noting that the company is linked with the South Stream gas pipeline investment.

Gáti said commercial gas storage is added to MMBF's two activities of security storage and through one of its shareholders - hydrocarbon production. MMBF completed strategic-security storage facility, which has capacity of 1.2 billion, was completed last year. The security stock is owned by the Hungarian Hydrocarbon Stockpiling Association (MSzKSz), which currently collects HUF 1.87 per cubic meter in stockpiling contribution from its members. The paper notes that MMBF has been criticized for building its storage facility of 1.9 billion cubic meters two expensively, for a combined HUF 150 billion.

The company plans to put an end to its gas production at the end of next year, the paper said. MMBF will continue producing oil and condensate while it is profitable. The company's production of a few tens of thousands of tons per year began in 1967, the company is producing on 100-150 wells.

MMBF turned into profit first last year and it will be able to pay a dividend starting 2011 according to plans, Világgazdaság reported.

The company had operating profit of HUF 6.4 billion as against HUF 300m operating loss and net profit of HUF 3.9 billion as against HUF 6.5 billion loss in the previous year. Sales rose to HUF 26.5 billion in 2009 from HUF 8 billion. (MTI – Econews)