Bucharest. Romania's largest oil company Petrom said it has started procedures for the temporary closure of its local refinery Arpechim in the central city Pitesti after the local authority for environmental protection suspended the refinery’s authorization, agency NewsIn reported.
Petrom, owned by OMV of Ausria, said it will fight the decision, calling it “drastic” and “disproportionate”, while a representative of the local environmental protection agency said the decision will not affect the refinery's employees. The government's deadline for investments in the refinery was the end of 2006, yet Petrom's plans included a deadline for 2009, the environmental protection representative pointed out. The refinery will be temporarily closed for six months, he added.
The company said its 2,000 employees will be involved in closure procedures which might take up to a month to complete. Petrom is also assessing the impact on the fuel market, saying there are several solutions to fix shortages, including buying or importing.
Petrom reported a net profit of 2.29 billion lei last year, up 61 percent from the previous year as prices for gas and oil products rose and company sales grew. The company was purchased in 2004 by Austria’s OMV group, a leader in the Central and Eastern European oil and gas market.