(MENAFN) Lukoil, a major Russian energy company, has issued a warning that Bulgaria's premature termination of its exemption from an European Union embargo on Russian oil could lead to the shutdown of Neftochim Burgas, the country's largest refinery and Lukoil's majority-owned facility. The decision poses significant risks to Bulgaria's fuel market and raises the specter of a potential fuel supply crisis in the Balkan state.
Lukoil emphasized that Bulgaria's move to cancel quotas for the export of petroleum products not utilized in the domestic market from January 1, 2024, effectively equates to a termination of permission to use Russian oil starting December 2023. This decision, if implemented, would lead to a halt in production at Neftochim Burgas, with potential consequences for fuel supplies in the region.
The company highlighted the imminent risk of the refinery's storage overflowing if the export of petroleum products is restricted. Lukoil stated, "This situation may place the enterprise in conditions of increased technological and logistical risk and pose a threat to fuel supplies to the Bulgarian market."
In response to the development, Lukoil Neftochim Burgas management has urged Bulgarian authorities to engage in urgent dialogue to find a comprehensive solution to the situation. The company is calling for collaborative efforts to avert the potential shutdown of the sole refinery, which plays a crucial role in Bulgaria's fuel production and supply.
On November 17, members of the parliamentary majority in Sofia agreed on new restrictions targeting the Lukoil Neftochim Burgas plant. Under the decision, the enterprise will be prohibited from using Russian oil for processing starting on March 2, 2023, and will no longer receive quotas for fuel exports as of January. A corresponding bill is expected to be adopted by the parliament by the end of this month, raising concerns about the future of Bulgaria's energy security and the stability of its fuel market.
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