October 12, 2022
October 12, 2022
The Government of Serbia signed a secret contract with Norway-based Rystad Energy in early September, according to a news report. Without a competitive procedure, the company got the deal for consulting services with a task to help the country overcome the challenges in the energy sector.
Citing the energy crisis, which escalated in December with a series of simultaneous breakdowns in Serbia’s coal-fired power plants, the government hired a consultant, Nova.rs reported. The troubles in the electricity system later worsened with outages and fires, followed by Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February and a severe drought. According to the article, Rystad Energy was hired for activities in five phases.
The contract signed by Minister of Finance Siniša Mali reveals the first four segments would cost a nominal USD 1.55 million in total, the media outlet added. There was no public procurement for the Norwegian company’s services, which are aimed at helping Serbia to overcome the challenges in the energy sector and come up with a long-term strategy.
Strictly confidential deal to protect national security
In the document, the government reportedly said it opted for a strictly confidential deal because it would otherwise have to disclose information that could hurt national security. The cabinet is said to have secretly decided on September 1 to show the agreement to the Ministry of Mining and Energy for the sole purpose of briefing it. It would imply that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović was sidelined.
Serbia agreed to pay a fixed fee of USD 1.55 million for services provided until the end of October
President Aleksandar Vučić said twice in the past week that “Norwegians” are cooperating with Serbia in the energy sector, without identifying the entity.
Deal includes option for long-term cooperation
The agreement is for an analysis of the state of the energy sector and for identifying “challenges and possibilities for Serbia in the energy sphere in the next three years.” The third phase, which would last four years, is for “the transition of the energy sector and enabling the conditions for growth.” The fourth one is about the perspectives of Serbia’s energy sector until 2050. The final part would be to continue the cooperation if the Government of Serbia agrees.
The fixed fee, excluding expenses, is for work until the end of October, while additional services would be paid separately, Rystad Energy said, according to the report.
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