Lukoil resumes Friday the activity at Petrotel refinery in Ploiești, the Chief Commissioner of Prahova Environment Guard, Daniela Tudorache, told Mediafax news agency.
The refinery ceased operations on October 3, a week ago, after Romanian authorities raided the offices of several Lukoil companies, and imposed a levy on bank accounts and materials stored in warehouses and oil pipelines owned by Oil Terminal under serious allegations of tax evasion and money laundering. Restarting has been notified to the county environmental authority, says Daniel Tudorache.
Judicial sources told Mediafax that company representatives have assured that they can cover the prejudice of 230 million euros stated that had occurred in this case. The General Manager of Petrotel- Lukoil, Andrey Bogdanov, was placed under judicial control, being prosecuted for tax evasion and money laundering.
Vicepresident for refining, marketing and distribution of Russian group Lukoil, Vladimir Nekrasov, said Wednesday, in Ploiești, it concluded an agreement with prosecutors and by Friday the oil group’s management will decide whether to close or not the refinery.
There were several word exchanges between the executive and the presidency on the involvement of policymakers over justice to allow the continuing of work and the payment of wages, all based on the premise that Russian oil group may decide an exit from Romania if the investment is not protected by Romanian state laws.
The closure of this refinery would pose supply problems to Lukoil fuel stations
In practice, Lukoil cannot close Petrotel refinery because it can’t feed the 300 stations in the country from the Burgas refinery in Bulgaria, due to logistical problems, says Constantin Tampiza, former head of Lukoil Romania, quoted by Adevărul daily.
“If Lukoil closes the refinery, it will be their biggest mistake. In terms of logistics will be very difficult, because you cannot bring from Burgas, by rail, more than 800 tons a day, due to the poor state of the railway in the mountains of Bulgaria. By ship it can be carried to Constanța larger amounts, but port infrastructure is used here by three operators, by Petrom and Rompetrol. To feed the stations in Romania they need at least 3,000 tons a day”, he says.
Along with supply problems, there is the question of the relative small processing capacity of the refinery, which makes it attractive only if its owner owns a distribution chain of fuel products and the owner has the oil to be processed, emphasizes Constantin Tampiza.