Dinu Patriciu, the oilman who recently sold 75% of the Romanian Rompetrol group to the Kazakh company KazMunaiGaz, declared on Thursday that the company needs to aggressively expand in the Balkans' area through a series of acquisitions. The Amsterdam-based Rompetrol holding will pursue the acquisition of the Serbian oil company NIS, recently opened for privatization.

The Serbian government postponed last year the privatization at NIS, until after the general elections. "We intend to become a Mediterranean company, with distribution and refining capacity from Georgia to Spain", said Patriciu in an interview.

"We are active in 12 countries and we will continue our policy of aggressive enlargement and consolidation. NIS will be one of our first targets", said Patriciu.

The International Monetary Fund raised the NIS privatization as a condition for its support and warned that credits may be suspended in November unless two refineries aren't sold before the end of October.