RIGA - Statoil Latvija has said it would buy less gasoline from Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta and more from Scandinavian refineries.
Logistics head Eriks Ulmanis said the company was currently buying 95 gasoline from both the Lithuanian refinery and a producer in Scandinavia. 98 gasoline, on the other hand, will be bought from the Scandinavian producer exclusively.
"The company is already planning to increase supplies from Scandinavia in the near future," he said.
Ulmanis added that Statoil Latvija, which is owned by Norway's Statoil, is buying diesel fuel mainly from Mazeikiu Nafta and that "no major changes are planned."
In recent weeks, Mazeikiu Nafta has come under fire from both Lithuanian and Latvian officials for soaring retail prices, with top government officials in Vilnius threatening punitive damages if the company is found to be gouging prices. Refinery representatives have responded by saying that the price rise is part of a global trend.
Janis Blums, director of Mazeikiu Nafta Trading House in Latvia, the refinery's trading arm, declined to comment on Statoil's decision to diversity gasoline supplies.
"When I see or receive such information, I will be able to comment," he said.
Latvija Statoil is the largest fuel retailer in Latvia, with an approximate 22 percent share of the retail fuel market. Last year, the company sold more than 170 million liters of fuel, slightly more than in 2003.
In 2004, the company posted 110 million lats (157.4 million euros) in sales, up 42 percent from the previous year, while the company's profit shrunk by 29 percent to 1.5 million lats.