The state provides guarantees for an unfavorable loan of 200 million euros

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The public company “Srbijagas” was forced to take an unfavorable loan of 200 million euros for the purchase of additional quantities of gas because the reserves of that energy source in the underground storage “Banatski dvor” were used up and its capacity was not increased, although it was planned, according to experts.

The draft law, which is in the parliamentary procedure, envisages that Srbijagas will take a loan of 200 million euros from six banks, and that the state will provide guarantees for that loan. The loan is intended for the payment of Srbijagas’ obligations for gas imports, with the consent of the Minister of Finance.

Srbijagas will take a loan from Intesa Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, Komercijalna Banka, Sberbank, OTP Bank and Nova Ljubljana Bank. The Ministry of Finance estimated that the liquidity of Srbijagas would be endangered without new loans, because the companies were forced to continue importing additional quantities at significantly higher purchase prices due to the secure and continuous supply of natural gas to Serbia.

Such an assessment by the Ministry of Finance fully confirms what Danas has written about on several occasions, namely that Srbijagas does not import additional quantities of Russian gas needed by consumers in Serbia at low prices agreed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. for the next six months and that the underground gas storage “Banatski dvor” was emptied and the quantities of “blue energy” procured by intervention imports cannot be settled from it.

Energy expert Velimir Gavrilovic explains for Danas that the need for additional quantities of imported gas arose due to excessive depletion of stocks in “Banatski dvor”.

We are currently paying the guild for excessive consumption of gas from the reserves for electricity production. That warehouse, before the start of the heating season, was almost completely supplied with gas. However, due to the delay in the overhaul of block B1 at the Nikola Tesla B Thermal Power Plant in Obrenovac, which reduced domestic electricity production in conditions of increased consumption due to the winter, Serbian authorities were forced to consume larger quantities of gas from Banatski Dvor “Which supplied” Pannonian thermal power plants – heating plants “in Novi Sad in order to produce the missing quantities of electricity. This has conditioned that the gas storage is almost completely emptied and that there are not enough quantities in it to regularly fill the daily consumption in Serbia – energy expert Velimir Gavrilović told Danas.

According to him, if the gas in the reserve in the warehouse in Banatski Dvor was not used for electricity production, those quantities would be quite sufficient for the needs of consumers during the winter season and there would be no need for emergency import and borrowing of “Srbijagas”.

Gavrilovic points out that Serbia most likely received additional quantities of gas from Russia instead of buying them on the stock exchanges.

At least at the moment, Gazprom does not want to sell additional quantities of gas at the price of 270 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, ie the one under the long-term contract that expired last year, but whose duration has been extended in the next six months. Gazprom offers those quantities at a much higher price, which is still more favorable than on the stock exchanges, where it reaches the level of about 2,000 dollars for 1,000 cubic meters of gas. Accordingly, it is still more profitable for Srbijagas to buy gas directly from Gazprom because it is a less expensive variant – states Gavrilović.

Energy analyst Goran Radosavljevic points out for Danas that the intervention import of gas at higher prices and the indebtedness of Srbijagas are therefore a consequence of insufficient capacities of the underground storage “Banatski dvor”.

There would be no need for imports if the warehouse had a larger capacity than it is. The problem arose because the warehouse was not expanded, although it should have happened a long time ago. With the expansion, the storage capacity could be raised to a level that would be quite sufficient to meet the needs of consumers in Serbia, and in that case there would be no need to import additional quantities of gas. That did not happen, and now Srbijagas is forced to borrow, and this is an unfavorable loan that is short-term and will be very expensive – says our interlocutor

The authorities are silent about how many and whether there are gas reserves in “Banatski dvor” at all. The answer to that question, not only this time, we did not manage to get in the Public Company “Srbijagas” or in the relevant Ministry of Mining and Energy.

The last officially published data dates from October last year, when there were 219 million cubic meters of gas in our only underground storage. By the way, the current capacity of that storage is 450 million cubic meters of gas, and it could be expanded to a maximum of 800 million cubic meters of gas.

Srbijagas and the Ministry of Mining and Energy also do not answer Danas’ questions about the quantities of “blue energy” that are currently imported and their price. The expert public has information that Serbia procures gas from the Russian state giant Gazprom, which sells “blue energy” to partners at various prices, and “prices” additional quantities for our country at $ 790 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

The only one who occasionally goes public with specific figures regarding gas imports is Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who said at the end of last year that we are missing six million cubic meters of gas a day, but corrected himself in his second statement after some time. yet it is about four million cubic meters of gas.

Based on what has been said, the calculation says that Serbia pays between 3.1 and 4.7 million dollars a day for additional quantities of “blue energy”, which is why Srbijagas has to borrow.