VILNIUS - Despite a statement by Russia's Lukoil that supplying oil to Mazeikiu Nafta, in which Poland's PKN Orlen is buying a majority interest, is "not worthwhile," officials at the Lithuanian oil refinery expect to receive the scheduled amount of crude in the future.
Some 50,000 tons of oil had been pumped to the Mazeikiu refinery and the Butinge terminal daily for several years. However, the flow of crude started to dwindle last week and now amounts to 38,000 tons per day.
"The crude supply figures can be misleading in making final conclusions," said Redas Kristanavicius, one of Mazeikiu Nafta's directors. Unless Russian politicians start putting hurdles in Mazeikiu Nafta's path, the refinery will receive over 800,000 tons of crude oil in July as planned, he said.
Lukoil Vice President Leonid Fedun said last week that the company was not interested in supplying oil to the Lithuanian refinery since there were more profitable supply routes. Some analysts believe that the company, Russia's largest producer of crude, has taken umbrage for not being allowed to purchase Mazeikiu Nafta, which it sought to acquire. After Lukoil was squeezed out by Williams International, a U.S. oil company, in 1999, the firm halted deliveries to Mazeikiu Nafta on several occasions.
Other high-placed Russian officials have expressed dismay at Lithuania's decision to give the green light to the sale of a majority stake in Mazeikiu Nafta to PKN Orlen, a company with no production capacity. Still, the Lithuanian government's hands were tied in that the seller of the stake, Yukos, did not want to cut a deal with another Russian producer 's i.e., Lukoil 's and preferred instead to negotiate with PKN Orlen.
PKN Orlen ultimately bought both Yukos' 53.7 percent stake and another 30 percent owned by the government for a total $2.5 billion.
In response to the statement, Kristanavicius said that Fedun was saying one thing and Lukoil was doing another. In his words, Lukoil asked Transneft for permission to ship more oil to Mazeikiu Nafta in the third quarter than the Russian pipeline monopoly had allowed.
Lukoil, a long-time contender to take control of Mazeikiu Nafta, has been supplying crude oil to Lithuania since 1990.