The Italian government put the refinery of the Russian oil company Lukoil in Italy under state administration in order to prevent its closure.

The Isab oil processing company in Sicily near the city of Syracuse will not be directly nationalized for a transitional period of a maximum of one year, but control of the management will be transferred from Lukoil to the Italian state.

This should buy time for the sale of the refinery.

Christian Schubert

Economic correspondent for Italy and Greece.

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Isab has processed more Russian oil than ever this year.

Western suppliers refused to cooperate due to concerns about sanctions.

The European embargo on Russian oil doesn't come into effect until December 5, but suppliers didn't want to take any risks before then.

In any case, starting next week, no more oil may flow from Russia to Italy.

The Italian government hopes that the new constellation will motivate western oil companies to make new deliveries and that a new owner will be found as soon as possible.

Isab is the second largest refinery in Italy and one of the largest in Europe;

it employs more than 1000 people and indirectly around 10,000 people.

interested investors

Discussions are ongoing with interests in the refinery.

According to media reports, the American investment fund Crossbridge Energy Partners has shown interest, even though negotiations have recently been suspended.

Another consideration is the entry of the Italian oil and gas group ENI, whose largest shareholder is the Italian state, although the group had previously rejected this.

The state trusteeship is also expected to help persuade the banks to guarantee oil purchases from Western sources.

These securities had recently been lacking.

The government is now in talks with a group of Italian banks, it said, including the two largest houses, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, as well as Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banco BPM and Mediocredito Centrale.

The state venture capital company Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the state credit insurance company Sace could provide a guarantee for bank loans of 600 million euros.

Above all, the government justifies its intervention with securing Italy's energy supply.

Isab covers more than a fifth of the national refining capacity.

Because recently no Western suppliers wanted to send their oil there, more than 90 percent of the supplies came from Russia;

before the war it was usually only a third.

The intervention is possible because of a kind of golden share that the government holds in Isab.