Croatia’s INA further cuts oil production in Syria

Croatia’s energy group INA has further reduced production on its oil and gas fields in Syria following the developments in that country and new European Union sanctions on the Middle East country, the company said on Wednesday.




INA also asked for a temporary suspension of trading in its shares in Zagreb and London until January 9, 2012. The Zagreb bourse responded and temporarily suspended trade until 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

"Due to big uncertainties that events in Syria create for INA business, INA has additionally reduced its production of oil and gas by 1,300 barrels of oil per day. As INA has no control or influence over developments in Syria, we have asked for a temporary trading suspension," INA said in a statement.

It also said developments in Syria could negatively affect its business and profitability.

The Zagreb bourse said Wednesday’s trading suspension gives enough time to investors to acquire all relevant information. Some six percent of INA shares are currently in free float, almost all of it in Zagreb.

Last month INA reduced its production in Syria by 1,500 barrels of oil per day.

INA has not disclosed its total output in Syria but said the overall output from all of its oilfields worldwide amounts to 76,223 barrels per day.

Syria is a small oil producer, and its net oil exports were just 109,000 bpd in 2010, some 99 percent of that to Europe, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

INA, whose biggest shareholder is Hungary’s MOL, said that tightened EU sanctions from Dec. 1 and growing instability in Syria influence its business in that country. Croatia signed the EU accession treaty this month and is due to join the bloc on July 1, 2013.

INA has both upstream and downstream segments and is active in gas and oil exploration at home, in the Middle East and in Africa. MOL owns 47.46 percent, while the Croatian government has 44.84 percent in the company.

Trading in INA shares restarted in Zagreb on Monday, after an eight-month suspension ordered by Croatian financial market regulator Hanfa, which said MOL and INA had manipulated with privileged information. It said last week that INA had removed internal deficiencies in dealing with privileged information.

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