SOFIA (Reuters) – Austrian oil trader Petromaxx Energy Group said yesterday it would invest $157 million (124 million euros) to build a small oil refinery in northeast Bulgaria as the country prepares to join the European Union next year. Petromaxx said it would begin construction on the Danube River town of Silistra in September and have the 34,000-barrels-per-day refinery operational by the middle of 2007. «Bulgaria strategically is a very developing country. Its introduction into the European market opens up a whole world to us,» said Terence Montague-Moore, chairman of Petromaxx. The refinery will work on Russian crude shipped via the Danube. It plans to produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline, diesel, naphtha, marine fuel, oil residue and kerosene for the domestic market. The refinery’s output is expected to cover around 15 percent of the EU aspirant’s consumption needs, and Petromaxx has said it does not see it threaten the leading position on the market of the Burgas refinery, owned by Russia’s Lukoil.