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Russia's Lukoil says no talks to sell Bulgarian oil refinery

(Reuters) - Litasco, a trading arm of Russia's No.2 oil producer Lukoil, said that it had not received any offer for its refinery in Bulgaria and there were no talks to sell it, amid mounting pressure from Bulgarian authorities.

Lukoil has already sold its oil refinery on the Italian island of Sicily, ISAB, to Cypriot private equity firm G.O.I. Energy.

Although Lukoil has not directly been targeted by Western sanctions on Russia, the ISAB refinery was affected by an embargo on Russian crude oil as banks were reluctant to finance procurement for a Russia-related company.

"​Litasco SA, which is the main shareholder of LUKOIL Neftohim Burgas AD, has not received any offers to sell the refinery. Therefore, Litasco SA is currently not in any negotiations on the matter," it said in a statement.

"Litasco SA did not appoint any public or private organization to look for potential buyers or conduct any sale negotiation on its behalf."

Bulgaria, the only EU country allowed to continue seaborne imports of Russian oil after December's EU embargo, ramped up imports from elsewhere in October as it strives to cut Russian purchases, according to LSEG data and Reuters calculations.

Bulgaria said last month it was getting ready to fully ditch Russian oil by October 2024 and planned to reduce Moscow's share of imports to 80% by the end of this year from around 90% now.

Lukoil said last month that the plans to stop Russian oil imports by Bulgaria posed risks to the Burgas refinery, the largest oil plant in the Balkans.

A tight market for sour oil in Europe has made it difficult for the Burgas refinery to find alternative supplies, while demand for sour oil has been stoked by a ban on Kurdish oil exports, traders say.

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