NAFTA a.s., which is a major operator of underground gas storage (UGS) facilities in Slovakia and in the Central European region, achieved after-tax profit of EUR 79.553 million in 2016. Underground storage facilities of the company before the beginning of the winter season in 2016 recorded the maximum stock level in the history, and throughout the year the company was able to reliably meet the requirements of the clients, without restrictions.
Compared to 2015, the situation in the hydrocarbon market stabilized and the commodity prices remained relatively low. "The current situation in the energy market is an impulse for companies to manage activities more efficiently, to increase the flexibility of services, and also to find new projects that will promote their future development. NAFTA responds sensitively to this situation, and thus has remained to be a successful player on the energy market in 2016," said Martin Bartošovič, the CEO of NAFTA.
NAFTA has responded to these changing market demands primarily by creating and offering products that customers are interested in. In the past year, for example, we have brought back the Option storage capacity product, which has again been a major success. We have also reduced the number of shutdowns in the provision of services with an impact on the client, which required systematic planning and management of maintenance and reconstruction work.
The company's investments reached the level of EUR 6.4 million, while directed, for example, to the second phase of the Záhorská Ves project, where three additional wells were connected to the gas gathering center. NAFTA's investments have also paid attention to increasing the safety at the UGS facilities.
The fact that security is an important priority for NAFTA has also been confirmed by the results of the process security audit conducted in 2016 by an independent auditing firm DNV GL in accordance with the international methodology. In this audit, NAFTA achieved a significantly above-average rating.
After long-term preparations, NAFTA has also begun co-operation with Cub Energy Inc. in the field of exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the territory of Ukraine. This is a successful step in the strategy of developing the company's activities on foreign markets. At the same time, NAFTA continued to explore the possibility of establishing itself in other foreign markets, such as Germany and Turkey.
The year 2016 has also brought the continuation of a unique renewable energy storage project in underground geological structures - Underground Sun Storage, where NAFTA is one of the partners to the leader of the Consortium, Austrian company RAG. In September 2016, the physical injection of the gas and hydrogen mixture to reservoir was finished and currently the operation of testing facility is also successfully completed. The capacity of renewables is steadily rising, so synergies with gas industry have to be sought to ensure mutually supportive and successful operation of both resources in the future. These would give NAFTA the opportunity of transformation from an underground gas storage provider to an energy storage provider.
As at 31 December 2016, NAFTA employed 649 employees.