Russia's Lukoil buys 45 pct of Total's Dutch refinery

20th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Lukoil, Russia's second largest oil producer, bought a 45 percent stake in a Dutch refinery from France's Total, moving on ambitions to expand its presence in western Europe, the company said Friday

Moscow - Lukoil, Russia's second largest oil producer, bought a 45 percent stake in a Dutch refinery from France's Total, moving on ambitions to expand its presence in western Europe, the company said Friday.

"We expect that the value of the deal will be worth about USD 725 million (EUR 520 million), including the price of the oil reserves and oil products," Lukoil said in a statement.

The deal should be finalised this year, it added.

Lukoil's announcement Friday coincided with a state visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the Netherlands.

In recent years, the Kremlin has pushed hard for Russian firms to build partnerships and expand abroad in a bid to cull foreign know-how and bolster the country's influence.

Lukoil's chief executive Vagit Alekperov hailed the purchase of the stake in the plant, Total Raffinaderij Nederland, as another step toward developing its downstream business in Europe.

"This new downstream acquisition in Western Europe organically fits into our company's strategy to build up our refining capacities, near to the end market," Alekperov said in the statement.

The Russian oil major last year bought a 49 percent stake in the Italian refiner ERG's Isab di Priolo refinery in Sicily, gaining its first foothold in the European refining business.

The European Union, which buys about 30 percent of its oil from Russia, has left Moscow seething in recent years as it mulled legislation that would limit Russia's entry into its downstream market.

In March, Medvedev criticized as "idiotic" opposition in Spain to Lukoil's bid to buy a stake in the country's largest oil group Repsol.

"I think this is a harmful and idiotic logic, call it what you want, because dividing investors into good and bad, correct and incorrect, is lifting a new Berlin wall in the economy," he said in an interview with a Spanish daily ahead of an official visit.

AFP / Expatica

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