CORRECTION OF INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN NACIONAL WEEKLY DATED 3 NOVEMBER 2020 UNDER THE TITLE “ FOR FOUR MONTHS, THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN KEEPING IT A SECRET THAT MOL TRICKED IT, AND THAT RIJEKA REFINERY UPGRADE WILL BE POSTPONED “
We deny the claim that the Rijeka Refinery Upgrade project would be delayed in relation to expected deadlines, as was stated in the title of the article and at several places in the text. Croatian Government’s decision concerning INA’s bid and the tender for the concession on the maritime domain for the purpose of building and economic use of a special-purpose port – the Urinj industrial port, and the building and economic use of the maritime domain outside the port area of Kostrena Barbara cadastral municipality, is entirely technical in nature and does not impact the realisation of the project in any way. Specifically, as we have said in the past, construction of the unit is ongoing and, despite minor delays occurring amid the preventative measures introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the plan for the unit commission in 2023 remains.
Additionally, on page 15, the article incorrectly states that ”through its unprofessional behaviour, INA has yet again slowed down and jeopardized the Rijeka Refinery upgrade process”. A claim constructed in such a way is misleading the reader because the company has a clearly defined timeframe and within it, all permits must be obtained for the project to continue according to plan. The company is, furthermore, well acquainted with legal procedures and regulations it is required to meet. In line with the above mentioned timeframe, it is necessary to obtain the concession on the maritime domain by the end of March 2021, given that the valid concession on the maritime domain is a document that must be submitted together with other documentation for obtaining a building permit for maritime works. It is important to point out that the construction permit for maritime works is only one of the constructions permits necessary for the project realization and the project works are intensive in accordance with other construction permits, given that due to the complexity of the project it has a total of 14 building permits. In accordance with the time frame, the submission of documentation for obtaining a building permit for the maritime part of the works is planned for April 2021, and after the amendments to the location permit for that smaller part of the project, ie for maritime works. An amendment to the location permit for the maritime part of the works is currently being obtained, which will last until February 2021, in accordance with the legal deadlines and obligations. The beginning of the construction of the maritime part of the works is planned in the middle of next year. In addition to all the above, it is clear that the repetition of the tender for obtaining a concession on the maritime domain will in no way affect the project.
Furthermore, we hereby deny that ”INA knowingly and intentionally submitted a lacking, unacceptable bid, knowing full well it will be rejected” and has in doing so ”delayed the investment into the Rijeka delayed coker”, as page 15 of the article states. The documentation in question is complex and comprehensive, which leaves a possibility for error. INA is conducting an internal audit to identify potential mistakes that occurred in the process. To reiterate, technical issues will be rectified promptly and tender documentation supplemented in line with the new technological design proposed by the contractor, which will then be used as part of the repeated concession request. The investment into Rijeka Refinery is not and will not be delayed. On the contrary, despite the challenging economic environment, INA’s Management Board is fully dedicated to this strategic project, supported by both major shareholders.