Serbia says hopes to change terms of oil firm sale

Четверг, 14 августа 2014 21:46 MSD

BELGRADE Aug 14 (Reuters) - Serbia said on Thursday it hoped to change the terms of a 2008 contract selling a majority stake in oil monopoly NIS to Russia's Gazprom Neft , after Serbia's interior ministry announced an investigation into the deal.

Stressing he would not allow the issue to effect relations with Russia, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he was unhappy with the share of NIS profits that go to Serbia.

"Our intention will be to try and change that, parts of the contract, but if they (Russia) don't accept that, there's nothing we can do," Vucic told a news conference.

Gazprom Neft, which bought a 51 percent stake in NIS for 400 million euros, said this week it was surprised by the Serbian probe, announced on Monday. The 2008 deal was brokered under a government led at the time by the Democratic Party, which is now in opposition.

The Russian company has since increased its share in NIS to 56.15 percent. Almost 30 percent is owned by the Serbian government.

NIS runs two refineries in Serbia and produces oil and gas totalling 1.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent a year, operating fields in Serbia, Angola and Bosnia. (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Erica Billingham)