LUKOIL to continue active operations in Ukraine, says expert
The LUKOIL group of companies will continue active operations in Ukraine, despite a recent announcement that the company's retail business in the country was sold, Director of the A-95 consulting group Serhiy Kuyun has said.
"In recent years, Ukraine has become a very liquid market for LUKOIL from the point of view of fuel supplies. Last year was a record year – deliveries exceeded one million tonnes of petrol and diesel fuel, and this is over 10% of the market," he told Interfax-Ukraine.
The expert said that the successful operations were possible thanks to the tight cooperation of LUKOIL with influential Ukrainian partners. The largest contractor of LUKOIL in 2013 was VETEK Group of Serhiy Kurchenko and First Fuel Company affiliated with Rinat Akhmetov. Despite the fact that due to various reasons, the positions of the said structures have weakened, in 2014, LUKOIL could retain its pace thanks to the start of cooperation with the largest player of the market in the person of the Privat Group of Ihor Kolomoisky, Kuyun said.
"The cooperation with Privat opens large opportunities for LUKOIL, as the Dnipropetrovsk group owns the largest filling station chain [in the country] and sea handling complexes in Odesa and Illichivsk, through which cargo from LUKOIL's oil refineries in Romania, Bulgaria and Italy could be received," Kuyun said.
He said that the cooperation started in June from supply of Belarusian fuel from the resources of the Russian company.
LUKOIL is a large supplier of crude oil to Belarusian oil refineries and it has resources in large volumes available. In turn, Privat faces a shortage of petrol for its own chain: starting from May the chain has had permanent irregular supplies of fuel, and there is no high-octane petrol even in Kyiv now," he said. Kuyun said that in June-July 2014, Dniprnaftoproduct, part of the Privat group, contracted over 20,000 tonnes of Belarusian petrol.
In addition, the expert said that there is a large likelihood that LUKOIL will continue delivering fuel to filling stations under the eponymous brand, which was sold, according to the company's earlier statement.
"At present, opinions differ if the chain was sold to a third party or to an affiliated company, but it's likely that fuel to the chain will be supplied by LUKOIL, and it is beneficial for any owner of the chain to keep such a supplier," the expert said.
As reported, on July 31, LUKOIL said that the company sold all of its filling stations (around 240) and six oil depots in Ukraine to Austria's AMIC Energy Management GmbH.