Serbia allows diesel imports

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia partially freed its oil products imports and allowed the import of euro diesel, the government said yesterday. So far, imports of all products were banned and Serbia’s oil monopoly Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) had the exclusive right to process imported crude in its two refineries in Novi Sad and Pancevo with a combined capacity of 167,000 barrels per day. Serbia had earlier freed crude imports but kept the ban on products imports to protect NIS from outside competition until it revitalized its two refineries. They were expected to process around 4 million tons of crude this year. The government said the amendment to the decree would give the domestic market a chance to be «lastingly supplied with European quality of diesel while at the same time securing conditions for normal work of domestic refineries.» A NIS spokesman said the government planned to fully free import of oil products next year. The Serbian Parliament last month passed a law to restructure the monopoly as a first step to prepare it for privatization.