LukOil is considering “radical solutions” for its operations in Eastern Europe, including the sale of Petrotel refinery in Ploiesti, Romania, LukOil’s president Vagit Alekperov stated on Thursday stated in an interview to RBC. Also, the units in Italy, Bulgaria and the Netherlands are no longer strategic assets for the Russian group.
According to him, the assets can be sold partially, all of them can be sold, or they can be turned into a separate company in order to find investor later.
“These assets are not strategic for us. Over the past years, we mainly concentrate on the exploration, development of oil and gas fields. It may encourage us to make radical decisions about the fate of European assets in the future,” Alekperov explained.
“We can sell them partially, we can sell them all, or create a spin-off. We can offer our shareholders to create a new company, which would be also quoted on the stock exchange. A lot of major oil companies did it,” the Russian businessman specified.
As the press service of LukOil reported, the decision on sale of assets was made in the framework of optimization of business in the field of oil product sales.
The company has problems with the law enforcement authorities in Romania. The conflict began in October of 2014. At the time, searches were conducted in several Romanian offices of LukOil in the city of Ploiesti, including the office at Petrotel oil refinery. The company had to stop the work of this factory for a few days, but eventually, through the court, it managed to remove the arrest.
In July of 2015, the Romanian authorities arrested the assets of LukOil Europe, which amounted to EUR 2 billion. The decision on this was issued by Ploiesti Appeals Court. The document said about institution of criminal case on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion concerning five employees of Petrotel LukOil oil refinery. The damage over 2012-2013 amounted to EUR 230 million. LukOil denied the claims and appealed against the arrest in the court.