Williams' deal with Lithuania won't be revised

  • 2000-08-03
VILNIUS (BNS) -Williams International has denied media reports that its agreement with the Lithuanian government will be revised to enable the Lithuanian oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta, one-third owned and operated by the US company, to sign a five-year cooperation deal with Russia's oil giant LUKoil.

"Possible deals with oil suppliers will not entail changes to the agreements between Williams and the Lithuanian government," said Darius Silas, a spokesman for Williams Lietuva, the U.S. company's local subsidiary.

Williams Lietuva general manager Randy Majors dismissed reports about possible changes in the agreement as pure speculation.

The local daily Lietuvos Rytas reported July 31 that agreements with the Russian concern might require revising the deal signed between the Lithuanian government and the U.S. company last autumn.

Reportedly, Economy Minister Valentinas Milaknis confirmed he had received unofficial information about possible changes to the agreement, but refused to comment on this issue until a formal announcement was made.

Mazeikiu Nafta and LUKoil have been working on an agreement to set up joint oil supply and fuel marketing ventures in Lithuania. According to media reports, Mazeikiu Nafta is likely to own 60 percent of shares in a joint fuel wholesale trade company in this country, with the rest to be held by LUKoil.

Mazeikiu Nafta, in which the state owns nearly 60 percent of shares, submitted a program for the first stage of modernization in the northwestern Lithuanian oil refinery to the Economy Ministry last week, which calls for investment of around $400 million. The program is currently being examined by a special commission.

Mazeikiu Nafta's managers have said they plan to present the program to a group of western banks and insurance companies early in August.

According to the plan, the first stage of the refinery's modernization will cost an estimated $300 million, with another $96 million to be spent to build a pipeline to the Lithuanian coastal area and enhance the capacity of terminals on the Baltic Sea coast.