Bulgaria adopts law allowing state to take control over Lukoil refinery in crisis

by Cristian Florescu

The Bulgarian parliament adopted legislation allowing the state in critical situations to assume control over companies that operate facilities for the production, processing, storage and transport of crude oil and petroleum products.

The legislation can be applied in the event of threats to Bulgaria’s national security, the delivery of critical resources, market monopoly or a breach of sanctions imposed by the European Union, a notice on parliament’s website published on Friday.

Under the new legislation, the government may appoint a manager to run such companies for a six-month period that can be extended once.

Bulgaria’s sole oil refinery, Lukoil Neftochim Burgas, which is part of Russia’s Lukoil, processes crude imported from Russia.

In June, Bulgaria received an exemption from the European Commission so as to keep importing crude oil and petroleum products from Russia by sea until the end of 2024 despite an EU-wide ban in force since December last year. The Commission has also allowed Bulgaria to export to Ukraine diesel products refined locally from imported Russian crude oil under a special exemption.

In late 2022, the Bulgarian government agreed with Lukoil Neftochim that the company will transfer its financial operations to Bulgaria and start paying taxes to the state.

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