LUKoil may sell its tanker fleet

LUKoil is negotiating to sell off its fleet of tankers for about $300 million, said a former manager at the oil major's subsidiary, LUKoil Arctic Tanker. The manager, who requested anonymity, said the company is in talks with three interested parties.

The fleet includes 10 icebreakers with a load capacity of 15,000 to 20,000 tons that were built in Germany and St. Petersburg in the last five years. LUKoil also owns five river-sea tankers. All 15 are owned by LUKoil Arctic Tanker, or LAT, a fully owned subsidiary of the oil major that has debts of $527 million as of Aug. 1. The fleet brings in revenues of about $40 million per year.

The former manager said LUKoil was selling not LAT, but the tankers themselves, and that the ships would be sold in more than one lot, adding that the present market value of the vessels was about $20 million each. He said that LAT would be liquidated and the company's debts would be transferred to LUKoil.

The manager said demand for the tankers was high in Europe, especially in light of the environmental disaster unfolding along the Spanish coastline in the wake of last month's breakup of the 26-year-old, single-hulled tanker Prestige, carrying thousands of tons of Russian fuel oil, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

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