Czech Republic's MND plans move into gas distribution market

Jan. 29, 2014 at 12:08 AM
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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Czech oil and gas producer MND announced this week it is planning to enter the domestic natural gas supply market with a goal of signing up 200,000 households.

MND, Moravske Naftove Doly, the Czech Republic's largest oil and gas exploration company, is owned billionaire entrepreneur Karel Komarek through his holding company KKCG Group.

The company announced Monday it now also wants to become one of the biggest players in the Czech natural gas distribution market within three years, claiming it will be able to provide savings of nearly $350 per year for the typical household, Czech news agency CTZ reported.

MND has so far only offered gas through wholesalers, but now wants to focus on supplying the country's 2.6 million individual households, which it sees as a "great opportunity," Ludvik Baleka, chief executive of MND's gas trade division, told the news agency.

"In the first year we will get at least 20,000 customers," he predicted, saying MND would offer a single, fixed monthly fee for all types of customers, with contracts to be of indefinite duration and terminable without any penalties or charges.

MND is primarily engaged in the production, exploration, trade and storage of oil and gas, holding five exploration licenses covering 1,095 square miles as well as 77 exploitation licenses in the Czech Republic, producing 280,000 cubic meters of oil equivalent.

It has identified additional potential sites in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, Georgia and Iraq.

The company also owns and operates the Uhrice underground gas storage facility, which has a total capacity of 280 million cubic meters.

"We have a hundred-year tradition of oil and natural gas," Board Member Miroslav Jestrabik said. "Because the volume of extraction of natural gas fully controls its price, we can guarantee our clients competitive rates in the long term."

The company said it expects revenues from the sale of gas to reach more than $50 million within three years.

"Of course, we expect that it will be a profitable business for us," MND spokesman Dan Plovajko told CTK.

As a member of Komarek's conglomerate, MND says it plans to sell gas in conjunction with other companies of the KKCG Group, which could allow for future contracts supplying natural gas to the betting company Sazka and branches of the CK Fischer travel agency chain.

German utility RWE has the dominant share of the Czech natural gas market at 57 percent, with Prazska Plynarenska, or Prague Gas, following at 15 percent and CZE at 11 percent.

Bohemia Energy, meanwhile, accounts for 7 percent and E.On has a 6 percent share, CTZ reported.

Komarek joined Forbes Magazine's the billionaires list last year.

His family bought up shares in oil and gas and machinery companies during the Czech Republic's privatization period and combined them into KKCG group. Komarek now plans gas storage project with Russia's Gazprom, Forbes reported.

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