What are MOL Group’s objectives for 2014, and what is your strategy to achieve them?
Having done the groundwork in 2013, MOL Group is ready to increase production significantly and to become a sizeable international Upstream player. Our goal is to achieve a real step change. Our key focus areas are the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Pakistan, the North Sea and CIS. With additions from our Akri-Bijeel and Shaikan blocks, production will be on the rise from the second half of 2014. We expect to book significant reserves from Kurdistan, Kazakhstan and our new North Sea assets. Although we will be on a growing trend by the end of 2014 organically, we also aim to be active inorganically. We have a very strong balance sheet so M&A will definitely play a significant role in our efforts to reach the critical mass required to become one of the best Upstream companies. Notwithstanding we will carefully evaluate all upcoming opportunities and focus on value creation, not just volume growth.
What trends does MOL Group foresee for the global oil and gas market in coming years?
We at MOL Group foresee the global oil and gas markets much the same as they have always been; we operate in a cyclical business. The cycles relate to supply/demand balance and price, both of which have proven through time to be very challenging to forecast. For MOL our focus is on becoming the “best of the rest” and designing our portfolio in a way that will allow us to manage the inevitable changes that will occur. This means we must employ, train and develop the best people, organize in a way that fosters teamwork and efficiency, and always anticipates opportunities to improve.
What is your focus, and what are your activities and accomplishments in the Kurdistan Region in terms of sustainable development?
At MOL Group the concept of sustainable development and its robust framework covers six areas of focus, including climate change, communities and human capital resources. Strategic objectives have been defined in all the six areas and our ambition is to be in the top 20% of the industry in sustainability performance. Our good relationship with the KRG covers not only cooperation in the oil and gas industry, but the development of local communities and local content. In the KRI we mostly focus on local stakeholders in the Akri-Bijeel area by supporting the construction and renovation of schools and community halls as well as by purchasing items such as school buses, generators and school supplies in partnership with the local communities and in line with our sponsorship and donation policies, such as drilling water wells. On the other hand, the on-going training program of eight Ministry of Natural Resources employees at two Hungarian universities is of national relevance, as is the training of 13 Kurdish diplomats last year in Budapest. We will soon be welcoming a second group of students from the Ministry of Natural Resources in September 2014.
What does R&D mean for MOL Group?
Successful companies are always innovating, always committed to finding ways to gain the competitive edge. This is true for MOL Group as well; research and development is one of our strategically important activities while we invest in the future of our operations. We are facing new technical challenges during our daily operations and managing these challenges can be successful if we deliver applied and effective R&D ideas. Monitoring of new international development results is part of our operation in order to implement the best available technologies in MOL Group. MOL Group as an operator can best benefit our partners if the successful R&D project results are implemented, where it is possible.
Within MOL’s portfolio, where would you place your Kurdish blocks in terms of risk, expectations, and opportunities?
In general, the KRI’s business environment, thanks to vast hydrocarbon potential and the entrance of companies new to the region, is relatively positive. Security in the region is relatively good and incidents in the KRI remain sporadic, isolated and much less frequent than elsewhere. Although there are manageable marketing and security challenges, on the whole the region is full of opportunities and the future looks very promising. MOL Group is pleased to be the part of the developing story of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and is committed to facing and resolving the challenges.
MOL Group has extensive downstream expertise, largely through their projects in Europe. How would you assess the market for downstream investment in Kurdistan? Does MOL Group have any intention of investing in downstream in the Region?
MOL Group’s Downstream division operates six production units with more than 1700 service stations in 11 Central and Eastern European countries, all supported by a far-reaching logistics system and driven by supply chain management. Our aim is to increase profitability through improved efficiency, more flexible operations and continuous evaluation of new business and investment opportunities. As MOL Group Upstream has a successful exploration activity in Kurdistan, the Downstream division is also going to evaluate the market conditions by preparing detailed market analysis and investigate the potential investment opportunities in the Region within our next strategy planning process phase, which will be finalized later this year.