Bulgaria stops importing Russian oil

Bulgaria stops importing Russian oil on Friday, thus ending ahead of schedule the exemption from the ban on Russian oil imports in effect until the end of 2024, the EFE news agency said.

The Bulgarian parliament's resolution adopted at the end of 2023 took effect on Friday, EFE said. The resolution approved a schedule by which imports were halved from January 1, reduced to 25% from February 1, and ended from March 1.

Bulgaria and some other EU members were exempt from the EU ban on Russian oil imports until the end of 2024, but the Bulgarian government decided to stop buying Russian oil ahead of time.

The only oil refinery in Bulgaria is owned by Lukoil, which started working in Bulgaria in October 1999. The Burgas refinery has an annual capacity of 8.8 million tonnes. The company also operates a network of over 500 gasoline stations across Bulgaria.

Recently, Bulgaria imposed a 60% revenue tax on the Burgas refinery. The tax will be cut to 15% after the asset is sold. The refinery is also due to undergo a 500-million-euro upgrade to refine lighter, non-Russian oil.

Lukoil has announced a revision of the group's strategy for Bulgaria in light of the significant change of terms. "Various options will be analyzed with the assistance of international consultants, including selling this business," the company said.