Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly authorities to check LUKoil’s subsidiary

MOSCOW, August 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly service has launched a check in respect of the local subsidiary of Russia’s oil major LUkoil.

In a statement posted on Thursday on the official website of the Bulgarian commission for the protection of competition, the commission says that LUKoil Bulgaria trade arm might have abused its dominant position on the Bulgarian oil market and violated competition rules, including in what concerns wholesale prices, which might testify to a price agreement or concerted actions of market players.

More to it, Bulgaria’s minister of economics, energy and tourism Traicho Traikov also applied to the commission with a request to probe into possible violation of fair competition laws by LUKoil Aviation and LUKoil Neftochim through reduced jet fuel supplies after the suspension of the operation of LUKoil’s oil refinery in Bulgaria. According to a statement posted on the ministry’s website, LUKoil Aviation dispatched letters to Bulgarian airlines to inform that it had to reduce jet fuel supplies to airports in Sofia, Varna, and Burgas.

Meanwhile, a source in LUKoil’s head office in Moscow told Itar-Tass the company “has violated no laws” and may produce “all necessary documents,” if need be.

Earlier in the week, the Administrative Court of Sofia suspended the resolution of the country’s Customs Agency to revoke a license from LUKOil Bulgaria.

According to the court’s press centre, the court ruled that there are enough evidence to prove that the halt of the company’s refinery would inflict “significant or unrecoverable damage” on the company, which has contracts with the Bulgarian Railways and Stolichny Transport Co, and is the only supplier of aircraft fuels.

A trial on the merits is scheduled for August 31.

Bulgarian customs sealed warehouses of LUKOIL Bulgaria on July 27 under the pretext that the company did not fulfill the demand for installing remote control sensors. That caused the revocation of the license and the suspension in the operation of the refinery.

The LUKoil source told Itar-Tass that a month is not enough for the company to install such sensors. “We ask for a delay till the yearend,” the source said and refused to dwell on a possible outcome of the trial.


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