Russian oil giant LUKoil announced on November 3rd that it had purchased U.S.-based Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. in a bid to expand its visibility in the U.S. market. LUKoil signed a definitive merger agreement worth $71 million with Getty Petroleum, an independent marketer of gasoline and petroleum products with nearly 1,300 outlets in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions.
A LUKoil statement said that: “This is the first acquisition of a publicly held American company by a Russian corporation, and it is the first step in our expected expansion into the U.S. market.” The Russian major had already tested U.S. waters in 1997, joining with four U.S. supermarket groups to retail gasoline through its affiliate, Nexus Fuels, in Irving, Texas.
The company’s ambitions were sidelined during the 1998 rouble devaluation, but have since been resurrected.
Analysts suggest that LUKoil’s acquisition of Getty Petroleum promises more potential in terms of propaganda than it does in terms of actual profits, since the U.S. petroleum products market is considered to be mature.
The move does, however, reaffirm the company’s commitment to the U.S. and reflects an improved presence in foreign markets.