LUKoil Bulgaria is planning to pay for acquiring the ownership of a chain of 17 gas filling stations, owned by Opet Aygaz.
Opet Aygaz Bulgaria was established in July 2003 as a joint-venture of Opet and Aygaz, two of the largest energy companies of the Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding. The deal is not yet finalized, a spokesperson of LUKoil said. The other party, Koc Holding, refused to comment on the development. Earlier this year, Koc Holding withdrew also from its retail store operations in Bulgaria. It closed its Migros chain, which managed the Ramstore shops in the country.
The merger of LUKoil Bulgaria and Opet would create a serious competitor for the market leader Petrol. LUKoil now has 150 fuel stations that are competing with Petrol’s 500 petrol and gas filling stations, as well as with foreign operators like Shell, OMV and others. LUKoil plans to double the number of its petrol stations and gas stations by 2010, the company said. Currently, there are between 2500 and 2700 fuel stations operating in Bulgaria. (petrolplaza)