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Interfax: Hungary's top oil firm MOL plays down impact of potential crude price hike by Russia's Lukoil

Interfax: Hungary's top oil firm MOL plays down impact of potential crude price hike by Russia's Lukoil

26.4.2007 17:43
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BUDAPEST. APRIL 26. INTERFAX C.NTRAL EUROPE - Hungary's top oil company, MOL, Thursday played down the impact of a possible hike in crude prices charged by its main supplier, Russia's Lukoil.

"What projections Lukoil is making for oil prices is one thing," MOL Executive Chairman Zsolt Hernadi told reporters. "But prices are determined by supply, demand, and where and how the oil can be used."

In a company presentation earlier this week Lukoil said that a new Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline currently under construction could result in the redirection of 1 mln barrels of oil exports per day from Europe to China and East Asia, where Lukoil currently enjoys a USD 5-per-barrel price premium.

Lukoil said that, as a result, "the discount in the West will decrease, and Russian export efficiency will increase on average by USD 3 per barrel."

This could result in higher prices for Western customers like MOL, as the MOL group, including its Slovakian arm Slovnaft, buys 5 mln tonnes of oil per year from Lukoil under a long-term agreement signed in 2005.

Yet Hernadi stressed that oil prices are driven by market forces, and Lukoil itself has adhered to market principles in its relationship with MOL.

"It's not that Lukoil is threatening us - they have been very reliable and fair partners and are delivering [crude] promptly and at adequate prices" according to Hernadi. "I understand they are trying to diversify their exports, but we're not in a bad position either, as we can buy these products from many [suppliers] in the world."


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