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Bulgarian parliament to consider prohibiting Lukoil from using Russian oil

The parliament’s energy committee supported none of the two bills proposed

SOFIA, December 6. /TASS/. Deputies of the Bulgarian parliament plan on Thursday to consider proposals on new restrictions on the operation of the Lukoil Neftochim Burgas plant, namely prohibiting it from using Russian oil either from January 1 or from March 2, 2024 as was announced at a parliament meeting, which was broadcast on its website.

At an extraordinary meeting the parliament’s energy committee supported none of the two bills proposed. The decision on them will be taken at the meeting.

Earlier, representatives of the coalition of the party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) with Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) and Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) insisted firmly on immediate suspension of refining of Russian oil, though their bill was not supported by the parliament. Later representatives of the political alliance of coalitions We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria (DB) offered an option with a three-month transition period. However, following Lukoil’s statement made on December 5 that the company was reviewing its strategy regarding assets in Bulgaria, with sale of the business not ruled out, the bill banning Russian crude starting the beginning of next year was introduced in the parliament again.

In 2022, the European Commission, as an exception, allowed Bulgaria to fulfill contracts for the purchase, import and transfer of Russian crude oil delivered to the country by sea until the end of 2024. However, in November deputies of the country’s parliamentary majority agreed on new restrictions on the Lukoil Neftochim Burgas plant as it is planned to ban it from using Russian oil for refining starting next March, while starting January it will no longer receive quotas on export of petroleum products. The profits tax has been raised to 60% for the refinery.

In turn, Lukoil Neftochim Burgas has warned of the threat of termination of its activities due to lifted quotas on export of oil products starting the beginning of next year.