Lithuanian government may consider LUKoil's proposition

  • 1999-02-18
VILNIUS (BNS) - After the Mazeikiai Oil refinery started pumping crude again, Lithuanian Economics Minister Vincas Babilius said LUKoil's proposal to be one of the oil concern's operators was "subject to negotiation."

During his tour of the Baltics, LUKoil's President Vagit Alekperov reiterated that LUKoil wants to share operation control in Mazei-kiai Oil with other partners.

LUKoil proposed to set up an operating company which would include all the concern's operators.

"In this project, we see ourselves as members of an operating company and holders of a stake offered by the government," Alek-perov said.

Babilius said the idea of forming an operating company had been discussed during a meeting between LUKoil and Williams International this week.

"This is a real way to find a compromise among the three parties," Babilius told reporters after talks with LUKoil officials in Vilnius.

Last year, the Parliament passed a law on the new Mazeikiai Oil concern naming U.S. Williams International its strategic investor. The U.S. company got a 33 percent stake in the concern which is comprised of the Birzai pipeline, Mazeikiai refinery and the Butinge terminal. The Lithuanian government also passed its operating rights over to Williams.

Williams will become a strategic operator in early March after it signs deals on management, share purchase and investment.

LUKoil was seeking to buy the 33 percent stake that Williams International got.

Asked if LUKoil has given up its earlier plans to control a 33-percent stake in Mazeikiai Oil, Alekperov said the key issue was to become an operator, while the question of shares is of secondary importance.

Babilius also mentioned that LUKoil was interested in a joint operation of Lithuania's Butinge terminal, Latvia's Ventspils port and even the Klaipeda-based oil terminal.

Alekperov stressed that his concern was interested in all projects carried out along the Baltic sea.