YUKOS Oil Company to Create Network of Gas Stations in Baltic Republics

Russia's YUKOS oil company intends to create a network of gasoline stations in Latvia and Estonia. This is according to the Estonian Eesti Paevaleht newspaper. YUKOS holds a controlling portion of stock in Lithuanian Mazeikiu Nafta petroleum concern, including an oil terminal and an oil refinery.

No one in Mazeikiai has so far officially confirmed the information about YUKOS' intention. The Eesti Paevaleht newspaper says, YUKOS and Mazeikiu Nafta are in no hurry to disclose their plans as concerns Baltic markets. In his interview given to the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper, Artur Ionkus, Mazeikiu nafta's East and Central European coordinator, said, 'We consider Baltic, including Estonian, markets as very important.' He expressed an opinion that once YUKOS entered Estonian and Latvian markets, prices could go down. 'At this time', he said, 'we do a market research, which is all I can say'.

Nearly all fuel sold in Estonia and Latvia at this time comes from Mazeikiu Nafta. According to the Latvian Business & Latvia newspaper, in 2002, Mazeikiu Nafta supplied to Latvia a record quantity of 660,000 tonnes of petroleum products. This means that 90.4% of all petroleum products in Latvia come from a company already controlled by YUKOS.

Mazeikiu Nafta is the company with the largest in the Baltic Republics net turnover whose worth, in 2001, amounted to about USD 1.4 billion. In 2002, the company's turnover continued increasing. Mazeikiu Nafta intends to publish exact figures very shortly.

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