Libyan SWF Interested in French Oil Refinery

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) expressed interest to invest in the Petit-Couronne oil refinery. The LIA has experience investing in oil refineries in continental Europe. Being the oldest refinery in France, it is currently facing liquidation, putting around 500 jobs at risk. In October 2012, the French commercial court in Rouen rejected two bids from Hong Kong-based Alanfandi Petroleum Group and Dubai-based NetOil.

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said in a RTL radio interview that he received a non-binding letter from Libya “demanding to examine this issue from the Libyan sovereign fund, which is a petroleum-producing country that has decided to resume economic and political relations with France.”

Created in 1929, the Petit-Couronne refinery was owned by Shell and sold in 2008 to Petroplus, a Swiss company. In 2011, Petroplus attempted to restructure operations at the refinery, but decided to sell the asset after filing for bankrupt protection in January.

Mr. Montebourg further stated, “we don’t want the liquidation of this refinery. I’m going to ask the commercial court today to delay its judgment, to take the time necessary to allow our Libyan friends to invest in this refinery.”

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