Interview with Pavle Radanov, the Mayor of Pančevo, for the My NIS magazine

January 27, 2014

With Gazprom Neft becoming the majority owner, the Refinery has been modernised and the largest single investment in Serbia over the last few decades has been realised. How is this important to Pančevo? - I would say it is crucial, because after a few decades without technical and technological development in Pančevo's south industrial zone, we begin now to gather the momentum of development with the rest of Europe and the world. This is an incentive for the entire area, primarily the petrochemical facility and Azotara, but also the city's entire economy. Introduction of the Russian capital and modernised Refinery open up new opportunities and send a clear message that development and a better life are feasible. When we discuss the relationship between NIS and Pančevo, our cooperation has certainly become more meaningful over the years and numerous projects in the area of environmental protection, social welfare, education, sport etc. can testify to this. NIS reaffirms its social responsibility on a daily basis and Pančevo citizens see and appreciate this. To what extent has the attitude towards environmental protection changed recently in the city which strives to remove the burden of environmental issues? - Many environmental issues and concerns arising from outdated technologies were exacerbated by NATO's horrible bombing and aggression against our country in 1999. These events have raised the environmental awareness of Pančevo citizens considerably. This is perfectly understandable and no one can criticise the citizens for wishing a healthier environment for themselves and their children. They have every right to demand that. This is the reason why the local government has established the Environmental Protection Secretariat and equipped it with continuous air quality monitoring devices. On the local government’s initiative, representatives of the oil and petrochemical facilities, the Notification Centre, Pančevo Public Health Institute, with daily input from the National Hydrometeorological Institute, have jointly created a document governing the procedures for increased air pollution in Pančevo. These procedures have been adopted by Pančevo City Assembly and are put into practice by all participants, and NIS management has the most comprehensive processes of reporting to the local government about all changes and the fastest response in high emission events. Of course, the key step forward has been made with the Refinery’s modernisation and application of European environmental standards in all segments of the production process. I hope that other businesses in the City will also open up to investment development so that current environmental issues could be resolved more efficiently. Cooperation between NIS and the City of Pančevo has become more substantial over the years and dozens of joint projects have been completed so far. Where do you see opportunities to further promote this cooperation? - We started off with commercial cooperation as the best ground for expansion into other areas as well. Regarding communal development, there are numerous projects of potential common interest and a prerequisite for this is to promote the commercial development. I believe that socially responsible business operations, which is a distinguishable feature of NIS, will further develop in future and that the company's good efforts and progress in plants’ modernisation and expansion will also provide for new employment opportunities and reduce unemployment rate in our city. Such economic development would open the door to a rich cultural exchange and historically, the Russian nation and the city of Pančevo are closely tied. The Russian hospital, doctors, renowned professors in the local High School, descendants form Russian families still living in Pančevo and finally the graves of the Russian soldiers giving their lives for the city's liberation all create opportunities for cultural exchange and development of projects in this field. We are looking forward to cultural projects to promote our cooperation, along with projects in the field of commerce.