Cypriot fund keeps Lukoil plant alive

Cypriot fund keeps Lukoil plant alive

A Lukoil refinery in Italy might survive sanctions against Russia if it falls into the hands of a Cypriot private equity fund, with the company saying the sale could take place by March of this year after turning down a US offer two months ago.

Russian oil company Lukoil is reportedly moving forward with selling its Isab di Priolo refinery to GOI Energy, a Cyprus-based arm of Argus New Energy Group, a private equity fund primarily backed by Israeli investors​​.

The sale of the plant in Sicily comes after months of talks amid disorder in the energy market during the war in Ukraine, as Moscow and Western capitals have been moving to confiscate assets linked to each other.

Italian media had been reporting on the possible nationalization or even closure of the plant, but another scenario emerged at the last minute when the Israel-backed fund upped a previous offer by US interests.

Experts said the sale was inevitable after the plant, which had been relying on Russian oil supplies from Lukoil, could no longer continue to operate due to EU sanctions against Russia in December. Last year Ukrainians in Europe accused Lukoil of having connections to the Kremlin.

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