France to Invest in Petroplus with Libya?

Reuters reports that France is considering investing along with the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), Libya's sovereign wealth fund, in the Petroplus plant at Petit Couronne, in Normandy.

Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, keen to secure a rescue of the oldest refinery in France, visited Libya on Monday along with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

Montebourg, who is trying to stem a wave of bankruptcies, said France's Strategic Investment Fund could team up with the LIA as a minority partner "in profitable projects."

"This investment on French soil could also be reciprocated on Libyan soil," he added.

Several potential rescuers have expressed interest in the Petit Couronne refinery, including Hong-Kong-based Alafandi Petroleum Group (APG) and NetOil, a group led by Middle Eastern businessman Roger Tamraz.

Other candidates are Jabs Gulf Energy Ltd, an Iraqi company owned by Abu Dhabi's Hanna Al Shaikh Group, Iran's Tadbir Energy Development Group (TEDG), Swiss consortium Activapro AG, and Terrae International SA, another Swiss company.

Shell owned the Petit-Couronne refinery from its creation in 1929 to its sale to the Swiss company Petroplus in 2008.

The refinery, which is situated near Rouen, in Normandy, employs 470 people.

(Sources: Reuters, Trend, France24)

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