The Bulgarian government has officially revoked the Neftohim-Lukoil petrochemical combine’s oil terminal license. This entity, owned by Russia’s Lukoil, managed operations at the Rosenec port near Burgas. The decision is driven by the coalition backing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, intending to halt the derogation on Russian oil imports to better control oil supplies and boost tax revenues. Interestingly, the European Commission had, last year, permitted Bulgaria to continue importing oil for the Lukoil-Neftohim combine despite an EU-wide embargo. There’s growing speculation on further measures to curtail Lukoil’s grip on Bulgaria’s economy. An analysis from the Mediapool portal warns that such actions might escalate fuel prices. While countries observing the embargo have seen fuel prices rise by 8%, Bulgarian experts hope for a lesser impact domestically.
The broader concern lies in the implications of a potential shutdown of the Neftohim-Lukoil facility. This terminal not only provides over 5,000 jobs but also meets 80% of Bulgaria’s fuel requirements, contributing 10% to the national GDP. Its pivotal role in the economy thus extends the company’s influence to political circles. It’s noteworthy that in 1999, Lukoil acquired 58% of Neftohim’s shares for USD 101 million, marking its significant stake in the country’s energy sector.