Chinese company eyes Lukoil’s Romanian Petrotel refinery - media

An exterior view of Lukoil's refinery is seen near the city of Ploiesti. © Bogdan Cristel
The Chinese company China Peace Petroleum Group has expressed an interest in purchasing Lukoil’s Petrotel refinery in Romania, according to a letter obtained by Reuters. Lukoil insists it has no plans to sell the refinery.

China Peace Petroleum Group has mandated British Virgin Islands-based Kajel Holdings to represent its interests in the offer.

In a letter of intent dated March, Ion Epureanu, general director of Kajel Holdings, asked Lukoil to start negotiations on buying Petrotel, Reuters reported Monday.

A Lukoil spokesman confirmed receiving the letter and said the company had no plans to sell its Romanian refinery. Epureanu confirmed the content of the letter by phone but refused to comment, according to the media.

READ MORE: Lukoil doesn’t plan to withdraw from Romania, appeals asset seizure

Last week Lukoil also received an offer from a private Romanian company to buy the Petrotel refinery. Lukoil then said the company neither had plans to sell the refinery nor to leave Romania or change the management of Petrotel.

The offers come as Lukoil is in a dispute with the Romanian government over the refinery which has lasted nearly a year. Lukoil appealed in a Romanian court after Bucharest seized €2 billion worth of Petrotel assets two weeks ago. The seizure was part of an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering that allegedly cost €230 million. Lukoil has denied the accusations, calling them "totally unfounded" and hurting to the business.

The investigation against Petrotel began in 2014. At the time Romanian authorities halted production and froze the assets of Petrotel and confiscated raw materials, crude oil, and other products. Later the refinery restarted its activities after authorities lifted a freeze on the assets and activity.

Petrotel is one of the largest oil refineries in Romania and processes 2.4 million tons of crude per year.