18 Jul 2019 15:58

Sberbank has found experienced managers for Antipinsky refinery, which has resumed operations

MOSCOW. July 18 (Interfax) - The Antipinsky Oil Refinery has resumed production under the management of its general director, Maxim Andriasov, Sberbank of Russia said in a statement.

"The launch took place in the presence of a delegation of representatives of SOCAR Energoresurs led by its general director, Farid Dzhafarov. The refinery will continue to work as normal, toll-refining crude," the bank said.

"Despite the fact the bank is the Antipinsky refinery's main creditor, the bank has no experience of managing operational processes at an oil refinery. To manage the project we have found professional, specialist investors who will ensure effective operational management," the bank quoted its first deputy CEO, Alexander Vedyakhin, as saying.

"The refinery's new shareholders have raised funding and have organized the launch of fuel production by tolling. That will help it to fulfill social obligations, to make mandatory payments and keep unique equipment in working order. We are pleased that the refinery is operating again thanks to the professionalism of our partners and the Antipinsky refinery's general director, Maxim Andriasov," he said.

Sberbank said in the press release that SOCAR Energoresurs LLC - a joint venture between Sberbank and a group of industry investors - was the operator of this project.

"The experience and expertise of SOCAR Energoresurs were employed to relaunch the operations of New Stream Oil Company LLC in June 2019," it said. New Stream Oil Company has also begun to re-abandon and re-conserve old wells found to have breached environmental safety standards at the Mogutovskoye, Vorontsovskoye and Gremyachevskoye fields, which are being prepared for production drilling.

Also, on 18 July a meeting between representatives of SOCAR Energoresurs and Governor of the Tula Region Alexander Moor took place, Sberbank said.

Sberbank said at the beginning of June that SOCAR Energoresurs LLC had bought an 80% stake in Antipinsky Oil Refinery. The joint venture between Sberbank and a group of investors gained control of the refinery and of field in the Orenburg region that constitute the assets of the Antipinsky refinery group, the bank said at the time. The project is supported by Azerbaijan's oil company SOCAR, which is providing institutional expertise and operational management. "SOCAR is considering joining the project as an investor after assets have been audited in accordance with the established corporate procedures and operations have been assessed," the bank said.

The New Stream Group, whose core owner Dmitry Mazurov was detained this week and remanded in custody until September 12, issued a press release of its own on Thursday saying Mazurov was looking for partners to buy back shares in the Antipinsky refinery. "At present, scenarios for attracting partners to arrange a buyback are being considered. Talks are under way with some of the partners," the group said.

It said that in May, when Sberbank took Mazurov's 80% stake in the refinery, his personal guarantees for loans were not canceled. Also, New Stream said it was prepared to honor all obligations before partners, despite Mazurov's arrest.

According to information posted on SOCAR Russia's website, Farid Dzhafarov has worked for State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) since 2009. He headed SOCAR RUS in May 2013 and became general manager of the SOCAR Polymer project in July that year. He is currently head of SOCAR's finance and economics department.