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Italy is looking to nationalise the ISAB refinery, which is owned by Russian oil and gas firm Lukoil, for a limited period, reported Reuters, citing two government sources.

The move would be one of the options being considered by the government in case sanctions are imposed on Russian oil.

ISAB accounts for approximately 22% of Italy’s overall refining capacity and is owned by Swiss-based trading and supply group Litasco , which is controlled by Lukoil. It employs more than 1,000 people.

Italian Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti intends to propose the plan during the cabinet meeting scheduled on 28 April 2022, one of the sources told the news agency.

According to the Minister’s office, the refinery nationalisation is not on the agenda. Despite this, there was concern regarding the area’s social consequences and the situation was being assessed by the government.

Considered to be the largest of its kind in Italy on the basis of capacity, the ISAB refinery was purchasing 30% to 40% of its feedstock from Russia. The remaining amount was sourced from international markets.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the refinery had to source almost all its crude oil requirements from Lukoil. This was due to the suspension of credits to the refinery from global banks.

ISAB deputy general manager Claudio Geraci was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Since we don’t have credit at the international level, we can’t buy crude from elsewhere.”

Last week, Italy agreed to increase natural gas imports from Angola in an effort to cut its dependence on Russian energy.

The two nations will also develop new activities in the natural gas sector, as well as jointly implement projects to contribute to Angola’s energy transition and decarbonisation efforts.