MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Romanian authorities have ordered the closure of an oil refinery owned by the Russian oil company "Lukoil", jeopardizing the whole Lukoil production chain in the country, Oleg Malginov, Russia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Romania, said in a press statement Monday.
Lukoil has owned the "Petrotel" oil refinery in Romania since 1998. Last Thursday, prosecutors and local police conducted searches at Petrotel on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering.
"As the Russian Ambassador, I am deeply concerned by the developments concerning the "Petrotel" refinery … The fact that production has been suspended amid the ongoing searches, jeopardizing the functioning of the whole Lukoil production chain in Romania, is a particular cause for concern," a copy of the document obtained by RIA Novosti reads.
It is noted in the document that Lukoil, which has operated in the Romanian market for more than 15 years, has always fulfilled its obligations in good faith and has always complied with Romanian law. The company has regularly been checked by the appropriate bodies, and the last check was finished last year.
"Lukoil enterprises have always complied with instructions given to them. At the same time, I would like to underline that the enterprise has never been shut down during checks, and the production chain has never been interrupted," the document read.
Representatives of Lukoil confirmed to RIA Novosti that the plant has been shut down and the company is investigating the circumstances.
According to Romania Insider agency, Petrotel Lukoil and Lukoil Romania were in the list of top ten companies in Romania by turnover last year, with Petrotel Lukoil having sales of 1.25 billion euro and Lukoil Romania having sales of 1.13 billion euro.
Lukoil is a global leader in the production of crude oil and gas, and refining them into petroleum products.