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LUKOIL Vice-president is negotiating the purchase of a 50-percent stake in Germany's Ruhr Oel GMBH company
LUKOIL Vice-president Leonid Fedun is negotiating the purchase of a 50-percent stake in Germany's Ruhr Oel GMBH company, he said Friday, Finansoviye Izvestia reported. Germany, Europe's largest fuel market, also ranks as the fourth largest fuel market in the world. Ruhr Oel accounts for nearly 20% of the entire German fuel market, annually refining 50 million tons of crude oil. British Petroleum and PdVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) currently own 50% stakes each. PdVSA has repeatedly tried to sell its stake in Ruhr Oel because it is difficult for PdVSA to turn a profit making daily crude oil deliveries to German refineries in light of sky-high global oil prices. Venezuela wanted to sell its Ruhr Oel stake to Russia's Alpha Group in 2003, with experts estimating the potential deal at $600-900 million. However, both sides did not sign the contract. According to experts, Ruhr Oel is such a lucrative slice of the German oil pie, that British Petroleum and Alpha may try to buy a stake in it. LUKOIL now heads the list of contenders after Fedun's statement. Incidentally, the Russian company and PdVSA signed a joint understanding last year. LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov went to Caracas in February to discuss $1-billion investment opportunities in oil deposits on Lake Maracaibo. The LUKOIL - PdVSA agreement also stipulates short-term and long-term crude oil and petroleum sales. A possible LUKOIL - Ruhr Oel deal may be perceived as part and parcel of LUKOIL - PdVSA accords. The Russian company would deliver crude oil to German refineries and LUKOIL would be able to deliver Venezuelan oil to the U.S. east coast, where it operates a gas-station chain). LUKOIL may be knocking at an open door. The same can be said about Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta concern. On February 18, Fedun once again reminded the Lithuanian Government and Yukos shareholders that LUKOIL wanted to acquire Mazeikiu Nafta. However, Alekperov said in December 2004 that LUKOIL, although interested in this Lithuanian asset, did not conduct any talks on this issue. Vilnius and Yukos have already started negotiating specific terms that would allow Lithuania to establish control over Mazeikiu Nafta
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