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Italy says several investors interested in Lukoil-owned refinery

Several international and national investors are interested in buying a refinery in Sicily run by Russian oil giant Lukoil, Italy's industry ministry said Friday.

The government decided earlier this month to place the refinery -- one of the biggest in Europe -- under provisional state supervision to avoid its closure and guarantee energy supplies.

It was in danger of having to cease production due to an EU embargo on the import of Russian crude oil by sea, which came into force on December 5.

The talks "with various national and international companies" proved "the plant's value", the ministry said.

It added that the ISAB refinery is subject to the so-called "golden power" regulations, which allow the government to impose conditions and requirements on the purchase of goods and services deemed of strategic importance to the country.

In addition to increasing production, whoever buys ISAB will have to commit to "guaranteeing employment levels and full compliance with environmental regulations", the ministry said.

According to the Financial Times, US investment fund Crossbridge Energy Partners is interested in buying ISAB, which is estimated to be worth between €1 and €1.5 billion.

Italy's Repubblica daily said Friday there was also interest from a consortium led by Ghanim Bin Saad al Saad, managing director of Qatari Diar and founder of the holding company GSSG, which has joined forces with Italian investors.

bh/ide/ah

© Agence France-Presse

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Italy says several investors interested in Lukoil-owned refinery

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