As Hungarian state oil company Mol would not be able to cover the shortfall, OMV’s petrol stations in Hungary are facing mass closures, vg.hu reported on Friday. Referencing industry sources, the business news site writes this might happen because the Austrian oil company’s refinery plant in Schwechat cannot be re-launched in time after it had been shut down for regular maintenance work back in April. In a statement on Saturday, however, OMV denied that it was planning to close gas stations in Hungary.
The Hungarian government introduced a price cap on fuel last November, mandating a set reduced price of 480 HUF (EUR 1.20) per liter. This is a fraction of the current market price, as petrol and diesel are both significantly more expensive across Europe. This way, foreign suppliers are not interested in serving the Hungarian market, Vg points out.
According to the site, the effect of this is already being felt, as imports have fallen dramatically, with Mol’s market share of around 70 percent in diesel rising to over 80 percent in the spring.
OMV has been the only company so far to maintain supplies to the country. Should this amount fail to arrive now, Mol will no longer be able to make up for the disappearing imports, the news site argues.
As OMV is unlikely to be able to supply its own petrol stations with fuel, market players say that new government measures will be needed to ease the supply constraint, i.e. to somehow bring back imports, Vg adds.
FactProducts made at OMV’s refinery in Schwechat are sold in Austria and in other countries in the Central and Eastern European region. The Austrian company operates about 200 stations in Hungary, supplying 17-19 percent of the Hungarian gasoline market, and 13-15 percent of the diesel market. It is estimated that OMV will have exported 30 kilotons of petrol and 50 kilotons of diesel per month to Hungary between June and August.
OMV denies press reports
In reaction to the news of the alleged mass closure of OMV fuel stations, both the government and the company released statements on Saturday.
In a communiqué, the Hungarian Ministry of Technology and Industry (TIM) emphasized that the adequate fuel supply in Hungary was ensured.
“Contrary to press reports, despite the longer-than-planned shutdown of the refinery in Schwechat, Hungary’s fuel supply is guaranteed,” the ministry wrote.
On Saturday evening, OMV also published a statement detailing what exactly happened at the refinery and what will happen to their petrol stations in Hungary.
The Austrian oil company wrote that OMV’s own product stocks and the release of fuel reserves in Austria will allow the company to find alternatives to secure supply, and that they are currently working on new supply options between OMV’s refineries and within their own storage network.
OMV has no plans to close gas stations in Hungary or in other countries, and OMV will do its utmost to maintain supply, the company stressed.
Featured photo illustration by Balázs Mohai/MTI