LUKoil Prepares Buying Spree In Europe, U.S.

LUKoil, the biggest producer of crude oil in Russia, is preparing to make acquisitions in Europe and the U.S., company president Vagit Alekperov said on Feb. 13. His comments, reported by Russian news agency Interfax, indicated that the group was interested in increasing its refining and distribution capacity.

"We think that we are close to making considerable acquisitions in the European and American markets," Alekperov told Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Interfax. "We lose a lot of money selling crude at Ural prices," he said, referring to the benchmark price for Russian crude oil. He added that this would not be the case "if we (LUKoil) supplied the customer directly", suggesting that LUKoil might seek to bolster its network of refineries and sales outlets to offer refined products directly to users.

LUKoil already has about 600 petrol service stations in Europe and 2,000 gas stations in the US.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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