Igor Yusufov, a former
Russian energy minister, recently made a solo bid for
Petroplus'' bankrupt Coryton oil refinery in Essex, UK.
Mr. Yusufov has been involved
in several controversies over past deals with troubled assets,
although this may be overlooked to keep the plantand the
900 jobs it supportsin operation.
Workers at the facility, which is nearing closure due to a
lack of oil supplies, have been protesting the planned shutdown
and resulting layoffs.
Coryton is one of only seven operating refineries in the UK.
It has a capacity of 175,000 bpd of crude oil and 65,000 bpd of
Mr. Yusufov served as Russia''s energy minister during
Vladimir Putin''s first term as president. He has been under
scrutiny about a past deal regarding the purchase of a
Norwegian shipyard group, which Mr. Yusufov helped finance.
The purchase fell through, although some assets were
transferred offshore beforehand, in what the official receiver
deemed to be illicit transactions. Also, the shipyard group''s
former owner died last year in an unsolved shooting. Mr.
Yusufov has denied having any role in these events.
The ex-energy minister''s investment firm, Fund Energy, is
the only bidder looking to operate Coryton as a refinery. Other
biddersincluding Royal Dutch Shell, Greenergy and
Vopakseek to convert the plant into a storage
"I don''t know about the integrity or detail of the bid, but
given the corner that we are in, it is important that [Mr.
Yusufov''s] bid is given every chance to succeed," commented
Richard Howitt, a member of the regional European Parliament, in an interview
with Reuters. "It is the responsibility of the government and
the administrator that this refinery can be made to work."