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Spain Wary of Lukoil’s Interest in Repsol

Many were surprised by the universally hostile reaction in Spain to the on-again-off-again interest from Gazprom in acquiring a 30% stake in Repsol – one of the biggest private energy companies remaining in Europe.  In fact, it seemed as though the Russian state firm quickly backed off after testing these waters.  However, no sooner had Gazprom begun to deny their interest in the stake, that the nominally “private” oil firm Lukoil approached the troubled and desperate construction giant Sacyr-Vallehermoso.  It appears that the acquisition is now confirmed.

Prime Minister Zapatero, who had threatened to block Gazprom’s attempt to takeover Repsol, was determined to explain the difference between Lukoil and the Kremlin arm:  “[Lukoil] is a private company, whose majority shareholder is a leading U.S. company in the sector.” 
But Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the opposition Partido Popular, smelled blood in the water, and is using the entrance of the Russian company to the ownership of Spain’s most important energy company as an opportunity to attack his opponent:

“Nobody in Europe has sold its energy supply and put it in the hands of a Russian company,” Mariano Rajoy told a political meeting.

 

He said such a sale would be “immoral and unjust” and he would do “everything possible to prevent it happening.”

 

He was backed by Socialist former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez, who also opposed any deal.