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Lukoil considers closing Petrotel refinery in Ploiesti

Lukoil marketing and distribution vice president Vladimir Nekrasov was in Romania the past days in the middle of the row over Petrotel Ploiesti precautionary attachment. Despite prosecutors’ lifting part of the distraint, Russia warns through the Lukoil official’s voice that is considering closing Petrotel refinery unless the restraint is totally lifted. “It would be a pity to close the refinery down. We have invested a lot of money here”, Nekrasov told the Romanian journalists. Lukoil vice president informed that he had also met the prosecutor investigating the case, vice premier Liviu Dragnea and the delegate minister for Energy, Razvan Nicolescu to look into the issue. “We understand very well the ministers Dragnea and Nicolescu cannot interfere in a prosecutor’s investigation. They are also sorry the country has to negatively revise the national budget”, Lukoil official also said. He considers the charges against the refinery are groundless, adding the Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t been able to present papers to attest any damage. “I haven’t seen practical things, only general phrases”, he said, adding he came to an agreement with prosecutors, yet without giving further details. “We’ve managed to compound a few matters that we shall report to Lukoil management tomorrow (on Thursday). If Lukoil’s heads agree, we shall resume the refinery’s activity. If not, we won’t. We consider the USD 700 M taxes paid to the state budget so far this year can be considered precautionary measures”, Nekrasov continues.

According to the Russian manager, Petrotel’s crude oil and mineral oils strategic stocks were put under precautionary attachment, precisely 100,000 tons of crude oil and about 60,000 tons of gas and Diesel fuel. Moreover, the entire refinery’s patrimony is under distraint, as well as Lukoil Romania’s debit to Petrotel. “Closing refinery has been a huge blow for us, the decision took us by surprise”, Nekrasov concluded.

Premier Victor Ponta and Russian ambassador in Bucharest, Oleg Malginov took a stand against Petrotel’s distraint, warning that refinery’s strategic activity and the workers’ wages are at stake. Following the prime minister’s stance, prosecutors have partially lifted the precautionary attachment, which caused tough political critics, but also prompted the Superior Council of Magistracy’s reaction, which is now due to decide if PM’s statements affected the justice independence.

Prosecutors have ordered precautionary attachment at Petrotel Lukoil against corruption charges that allegedly caused EUR 230 M damage to the state budget. Petrotel Lukoil general manager, Andrey Bogdanov is investigated on non-custodial interrogation, being prosecuted for tax evasion and money laundering.

 

 

 

 

 

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