Serbia’s oil reserves are dwindling

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What are the remaining oil and gas reserves in Serbia? Minimal – the President of the state said at an extraordinary press conference last week, stating that, after the sale of the Oil Industry of Serbia, “everything was spent and exploited”. Municipalities also feel that the quantities are decreasing on their budgets, because the amounts they receive in the name of the already low ore rent are decreasing, and the competent provincial secretariat for Euronews confirms that since 2013, oil exploitation in Vojvodina has been declining.
Especially for municipalities rich in oil and gas, the perspective does not seem bright. Smaller amounts of ore rent are pouring into their budgets.
“For example, in 2014, it was more than 850 thousand euros directly from the ore rent to the budget of the local self-government, and today that budget is somewhere between 135 and 145 thousand euros,” says Radivoj Debeljacki, the president of the municipality of Srbobran.
They used that money to reconstruct the streets and squares, and now, he says, the compensation will be enough only for the repair of part of the sidewalks and signalization. Why such a difference, they also asked NIS.
“The most common answer was that the exploitation of oil on the territory of our municipality has been reduced, that there is much less oil on the territory of our municipality, and also the price of oil on the world market,” states Debeljacki.
Is there still room to reduce the damage?
Of the ore rent, which, according to the interstate agreement, for NIS does not amount to the legal 7, but 3 percent, the municipalities receive only a part. 40 percent of the amount goes to their budgets, while the state and the province share the rest. Back in 2014, Srbobran, Kanjiza and Kikinda asked the Government to change that, to receive complete compensation, but that did not happen.
The municipality of Kanjiza had the largest amount of ore rent in 2012 – around 2.5 million euros, while in the past five years that amount varies between 635 thousand and 932 thousand euros a year.
“It’s like just waiting for them to take everything from us and then after that, when everything is gone, then we can raise the percentage, or we can talk about how much that wealth is really worth, which our municipality is also on,” says Robert Feistamer.
Feistamer says that there were open talks, but the brake, according to him, is the long-term agreement with Russia and something else.
“We do not see the will or openness on the part of the state to include the state in the negotiations for that long-term contract,” said the mayor of Kanjiza.
Is there still room to reduce the damage? Data from the Provincial Secretariat for Energy show that exploitation has been declining since 2013, but that there are still reserves. They did not specify for which period. Certified balance reserves on December 30, 2020 amounted to 9,880.01 thousand tons on the territory of Vojvodina.
Data on oil exploitation in the last ten years show that from 1,113.37 thousand tons in 2011 during 2015, it dropped below one thousand for the first time and was 991.79 thousand tons. The decline continued every following year, so last year 809.59 thousand tons were exploited in Vojvodina, Euronews reports.