site.btaLegal Revisions Passed on First Reading Enable Appointment of Special Commercial Administrator of Lukoil Neftochim
Bulgaria's National Assembly on Thursday voted, 122-43, to pass on first reading legal revisions that empower the State to appoint its own special commercial administrator at the Russian-controlled Lukoil Neftochim oil refinery if national security is at risk.
This part of the bill adopted amends and supplements the Act on Administrative Regulation of Economic Activities Associated with Oil and Petroleum Products.
The special commercial administrator will report to and will be controlled by the National Assembly. He or she will be elected by Parliament on a nomination by the Council of Ministers. In exceptional cases, when there is no sitting National Assembly, the special administrator will be appointed by the Council of Ministers.
The special commercial administrator will be strictly controlled by both the parliamentary Economic Policy and Innovation Committee and by the full house. He or she will be bound to present detailed six-month action plans that will be an integral part of his or her management contract and will be reported to and adopted by that parliamentary committee.
The same bill inserts a provision in the Transitional and Final Provisions of the Act on Control over the Implementation of the Restrictive Measures in View of Russia's Actions Destabilizing the Situation in Ukraine. The provision gives the Council of Ministers 30 days from the entry into force of the law to terminate a derogation from an EU prohibition on the supplies and processing of crude oil originating in or exported from Russia.
The derogation from the embargo on oil imports was granted by the European Commission to Bulgaria in 2022 due to its specific geographic exposure and applies until the end of 2024.
If the Government's Security Council considers the 30-day deadline to be insufficient, it will ask the National Assembly to set another deadline by a special resolution, which will become binding on the Council of Ministers..
The draft legislation was moved by MPs Boyko Borissov, Delyan Dobrev and Desislava Atanasova (GERB-UDF), Kiril Petkov, Hristo Ivanov and Ivaylo Mirchev (Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria), and Delyan Peevski and Mustafa Karadayi (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).
"Risks for the fuel market in this country"
The Lukoil Neftochim Burgas oil refinery warned that the decision of Parliament to stop using Russian crude oil "threatens the stability of the largest oil refinery in the Balkans and creates risks for the fuel market in this country". In a position put out late on Thursday, it said that the EU derogation allowed it to offer the EU's cheapest fuel and pay hefty taxes to the public purse of Bulgaria.
Also, it said that it has prepared a plan for phased transition to alternative sources of crude oil and submitted it to the Energy Ministry as required.
It said, though, that the 30-day deadline for moving away from Russian oil is unrealistic and will make it impossible to guarantee "the normal operation of the company".