Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia currently has major problems providing sufficient quantities of fuel, primarily diesel, as well as gasoline, for the needs of its citizens and announced a ban on the export of diesel fuel.
Serbia has no oil of its own, said Vucic, noting that the Serbian Oil Industry (NIS) is not majority-owned by the state.
“We are completely dependent on imports. An additional problem is that almost 100 per cent of what Serbia processes into gasoline and diesel fuel is processed in the Pancevo refinery, but we send some 30,000 tonnes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and some 22,000 tonnes to the Republic of Srpska. We also send to Bulgaria and Romania,” said Vucic.
He said the state will halt diesel exports for a week to ensure sufficient domestic supplies.
“We are trying to ensure that the prices don’t go up so we could protect people’s incomes, but this really does not depend on us,” Vucic said.
“We are having many problems here, if you don’t allow a higher price you won’t have any diesel fuel and owners will start closing their gas stations, as is happening in Croatia now,” he said.
Vucic said the price of electricity in Serbia is much lower than the market price and by far the lowest in Europe and added that “not an easy winter” awaits Serbia and that its citizens need to know that “things are becoming practically impossible”.
He said the country might need six billion Euro just to buy gas for the four winter months, that even this is a “reduced price” yet that this figure is literally half of Serbia’s budget.
Vucic said he does not know what country would be able to withstand this and added that the citizens will have to keep in mind the “scale of the catastrophe”.