YUKOS reported set to launch gas-station Chain in Estonia

YUKOS will enter Estonia's retail market. According to the weekly Estonia, the contemplated new chain of gas stations would lower prices for gasoline in an attempt to dictate pricing throughout Estonia. Official word of YUKOS' intention is expected sometime in the next two months. Tynu Eero, who heads the Mazheikiu Nafta oil refinery, a part of YUKOS, was quoted as saying YUKOS would seek to dominate the retail gasoline market throughout the Baltic region. The company has already begun introducing a chain of stations in Lithuania and Latvia. Currently, Estonia's Mazheikiu Nafta (YUKOS) is active only as a wholesaler of gasoline.

In the view of many people in the fuel business in Estonia, YUKOS will have to buy an existing Estonian gas-station chain. 'Estonia has all the gas stations it needs already,' Yury Vyrk, head of the Estonian Union of Fuel Companies, declared. 'The best locations are all taken.' Currently, there are two large gas-station chains in Estonia that might be bought by YUKOS: Alexela and LUKoil. Their chief value for YUKOS lies in the locations they control. YUKOS' principal competitors in Estonia, if it entered the retail gasoline market, would be the Scandinavian firms Statoil and Neste, which have been active here for about 10 years.

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