Česká rafinérská, the largest Czech recipient of oil via the TAL pipeline is running up monthly arrears of Kč 1.8 million after refusing to pay higher shipment tariffs. The refusal has brought it into conflict with Czech state-owned oil pipeline operator Mero, which negotiates all oil shipments via TAL on behalf of Czech customers and pays for the shipments up front. No resolution of the spat looks likely in the short term.
Out-going Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and former US president Bill Clinton are due in Prague at the end of May to attend the Energy Gas Storage Summit 2012, to be held under the auspices of Czech President Václav Klaus at Prague Castle. Top representatives of European energy giants E.ON, GDF and Gazprom, and the EU Energy Commissioner Günther Öttinger are also expected.
The Swiss investigation into alleged corruption during the privatization of Czech mining firm Mostecké uhelné společnost (MUS) has dominated the front pages of the Czech dailies in recent weeks. But most media have presented a fairytale according to which billions of crowns are waiting in Switzerland to be collected by the Czech government with the High Public Prosecutor’s Office in Prague interfering.
The July deal by which Czech power major ČEZ took control of the municipal heating firm Energotrans from Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) — in part exchange for a 50-percent stake in the German coal miner Mibrag — was not nearly as advantageous as ČEZ claimed. According to Czech Position’s sources, ČEZ’s auditors refused to sign off on the deal.
ČEZ's hitherto head of asset management, Pavel Cyrani, will become the new head of its strategy division, created to help the state-controlled power giant steer its way through ever greater uncertainty in the European and global power sector. The new division will help back up the blue sky piloting previously performed by trading director Alan Svoboda.
ČEZ is taking ownership of heat producer Energotrans from Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH), which will acquire ČEZ’s 50-percent stake in German miner Mibrag. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but EPH and ČEZ had together bought Mibrag for just under Kč 11 bln. Earlier, EPH was to take control of a ČEZ-owned plant in Chvaletice, but the announced deal is on ice; does it also signal a cooling in ČEZ-EPH relations?
Gazprom’s no.2 Alexander Medvedev, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Pension Fund Anton Drozdov, and Arkady Dvorkovich, advisor to the Russian president, are among the high-profile Russian politicians and business elite set to arrive in Prague in two weeks. The reason for their visit is neither business nor politics but for charity — on ice.
Sokolovská uhelná will lodge a complaint with the Czech Anti-Monopoly Office (ÚOHS) and the European Commission against the state-controlled power utility ČEZ for abusing its dominant position on the market to manipulate coal purchasing prices, the mining company’s CEO František Štěpánek told Hospodářské noviny last week. ČEZ now says it too has asked ÚOHS to find a fair way forward.
Lawyer Vladimír Bartoš and his client, convicted gunman Dušan Pintye, are demanding that state fuel distributor Čepro repay a Kč 254 million claim. Bartoš, who in August 2009 acquired Kč 127 million of Pintye’s claim, launched insolvency proceedings and presented a bankruptcy petition against the company. According to Čepro general director Jiří Borovec, the claim is based on false assertions. As expected, the court has rejected the Kč 127 million claim.
Nikolai Tokarev, president of Russian state-controlled pipeline operator Transneft, held talks in the Czech Republic on Thursday with Czech state-owned pipeline operator Mero in Kralupy nad Vltavou, North Bohemia. Tokarev is considered the fourth most-powerful man in Russia after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Gazprom boss Alexei Miller. Libor Lukášek, Mero’s strategic development director, said it was just a “courtesy visit.”