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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LUKoil Seeks Control Over Refinery, Baltic Oil Market

ST. PETERSBURG -- The nation's largest oil producer LUKoil wants to control the oil market in Lithuania, and does not need to buy into the country's only oil concern to do so, LUKoil's president said Friday.

"We believe that it [Lithuania] is our market and we are going to fight for this market," Vagit Alekperov told students of St. Petersburg's mining institute.

LUKoil had earlier declared an interest in buying one third of Lithuania's oil concern Mazheikiu Nafta, one-third owned and operated by U.S. company Williams, but Alekperov's remarks indicated it has changed its plans.

"We expect as a result of a harsh competitive struggle to gain control not of the share capital of the company, but of its operations," Alekperov said.

"This means that today we believe that it does not matter to whom the firm belongs, as long as our company controls its supplies and the distribution of its products."

LUKoil is expected to have talks Tuesday and Wednesday in London with Mazheikiu and Williams on commercial and strategic cooperation.

In another Baltic development, Latvia's privatization agency said Friday it has reversed a plan to sell small stakes in oil terminal Ventspils Nafta and now hopes to sell a 38.62 percent government stake at an international auction by the end of 2000.

"The agency council has decided not to offer a 7 percent stake in June. We see the entire state stake offered some time in November or December of this year," a privatization agency spokesman said.

The agency's council had decided in March to offer 7.3 million Ventspils shares in an international offering through three investment banks by June 1.

It failed in an attempt to sell a 5 percent stake through the Riga Stock Exchange at the end of April, as only one share was sold at the minimum price of 1.94 lats.

The agency also said its council had decided to seek advice from an international financial consultant in setting the offer price.

The state holds 43.62 percent of Ventspils, and local Latvijas Naftas Transits holds 37 percent, with an option to buy another 5percent when it completes payment for its current stake.