MOST Warns about Government’s Actions Regarding INA’s Oil Refinery in Sisak

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ZAGREB, January 20, 2018 – The government has made a poor compromise in seeking a solution for the Sisak oil refinery, officials of the opposition MOST party said in Sisak on Saturday.

“We were all surprised by INA’s statement about the closure of a portion of the plant and by the Prime Minister’s statement that this was a plan that was agreed (with the government), but we don’t know when and where this meeting was held. He said during Question Time in Parliament that talks were under way with the Hungarians, so we would like to know if downsizing was also agreed, because at least 40 jobs will be lost here irreversibly. It turns out that MOL intends to shut down this refinery after all. The minister in charge has not spoken, nor has the county prefect or the mayor, so it is not known whether this has been agreed with them,” MP Tomislav Panenić told a press conference outside the refinery’s administration building.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that INA’s decision to close the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) plant at the Sisak refinery was a business decision to make this oil company more efficient, adding that the government was proceeding with the buyout of the Hungarian energy group MOL’s stake in INA.

The proposed organisational changes at the Sisak refinery include the transport of oil semi-products between the Sisak and Rijeka refineries and the closure of the FCC plant at the Sisak refinery, which will result in up to 40 layoffs in the second half of the year, INA said on Friday.

Panenić said he could understand the government’s logic to lower costs by connecting the two refineries, but stressed that just like in the Petrokemija case, the government was put under pressure and “in seeking a way out, it made a poor compromise.”

Panenić accused MOL of destroying the Croatian oil refining market with its long-term policy because this market would be taken over by a refinery in Hungary. “MOL is obviously not a good partner to INA nor will it ever be,” he said, expressing fear that MOL would not honour the commitments under the agreement on the modernisation of the refineries.

Local MOST councillor Predrag Sekulić said that INA’s decision meant that the Sisak refinery would be gradually closed. He said that INA had never released business results for the Sisak refinery alone, “but if the plant is shut down within a year, they certainly will be released and they certainly will be negative.”

Sekulić said that the Deloitte study did not recommend the closure of the FCC, but that the idea came from “MOL and our well-paid experts who will thus shut the refinery down.” “Or isn’t this a deal between the Croatian government and MOL so it can buy back INA at a lower price if the refinery is closed?” he asked.

Sekulić said that the group for the defence of the refinery and job preservation, consisting of union members and war veterans, would meet on Monday to decide on further action. He said they were in touch with the workers, most of whom are on compulsory leave because the refinery is not operating.


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