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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romanian Oil Refineries Marked for Privatization

BUCHAREST -- Romania's oil processing sector might be short-listed for privatization under a government scheme aiming to put thousands of firms in private hands this year, officials at the country's main oil refining company say.

"The sector is on the right track. We believe our oil processing units will be put on the privatization list," said Emil Calota, deputy managing director of the Rafirom SA holding company for oil refining and petrochemicals.

Romania's minority government, under pressure to speed up privatization, recently announced plans to sell off some 3,000 state-run enterprises in a vouchers-for-shares scheme.

The government has said it will approve next month a list of privatization candidates based on profitability criteria.

"All units in the processing sector recorded a good economic performance in 1993, so they fully qualify as potential candidates for privatization," Calota said.

State-owned Rafirom SA is formed by 24 enterprises, which include 11 refineries, the Constanta port terminal and the network for petrochemicals distribution across Romania.

Calota said a government-coordinated project was currently under way to trim Romania's crude oil processing capacity to some 18 million tons per year from 34 million.

"It is completely uneconomical for us to show off with those 34 million tons per year paraded by the (former) communist regime," Calota said.

The project would boost the refineries' operational performance and solve problems related to extended downtime, energy conservation and the local environment, he said.

Under the privatization scheme, which needs parliament's approval, Romanians will be able to get shares in exchange for pre-share vouchers and privatization coupons, distributed to reflect the value of the former socialist enterprises.