On behalf of the Serbian government and with the approval of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Minister of Finance Siniša Mali concluded a contract with the Norwegian company Rystad Energy, worth USD 1.55 million, which will be executed in four stages.
Apart from the fact that the deal is labelled as ‘strictly confidential’, Minister Mali informed the Ministry of Energy about it only after it had been signed. The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, was the first official to publicly speak about this deal, but without going into details of what had been agreed with the representatives of the Norwegian company.
The document, that Nova had access to, states that the contracted activities are divided into five phases or modules.
The first module included an analysis of the current situation in Serbia’s energy sector, identifying problems and suggesting ways to mitigate them.
In the second phase, as stated in the document, the focus will be on what needs to be done in the country’s energy system, and not individually in companies and institutions. Thus, production capacities, production quality, losses in the system, tariffs and prices will be analysed. Here the Norwegians state that, among other things, “adjusting prices/market prices and subsidy amounts” could improve the current situation. At this stage, all measures that will be implemented are, as mentioned, short-term, because they are expected to yield results quickly.
The third phase relates to the possible entry of private companies into the national energy sector. This phase is one of the most interesting, first of all, because it talks about the management of the structure of public enterprises. That is, there will be an assessment of existing capacities and the role the private sector should play will be defined. The current structure of the energy sector will be examined, both from the point of view of direct ownership and management of the sector, as well as from the point of view of those with influence. The third phase also specifies how Serbia can use concessions and other means to attract private investments in the energy sector.
We can conclude from this that in the coming period, with the consultative engagement of the Norwegians, there will be talks about using private capital in the national power operators – the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS). This is possible as the EPS has started the process of changing its status from a state enterprise to a joint-stock company.
During the fourth phase, the long-term strategic opportunities for Serbia will be determined, i.e. the developments in the energy sector up to the year 2050. The document states three possible directions for Serbia – rapid transition (heavy investments in new energy and new technology), slow transition (greater dependence on existing energy, fewer investments in new) and the third phase (Serbia using nuclear power).
The fifth phase involves the continuation of support for the Serbian government and its state-owned enterprises, as required.
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