BP ready to support struggling Petroplus to safeguard supplies

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The Independent Online

BP is considering possible measures to support the cash-strapped European refiner Petroplus, on whom the oil giant relies to supply its UK petrol stations.

While a full takeover is unlikely, BP is mulling some kind of a loan or cash injection to the business.

Petroplus has had to shut down three refineries and to halve output at two others after lenders cut its credit lines. Analysts say a financing deal is required soon to allow the company to continue operating.

Industry sources told Reuters that BP was considering offering financial support that would help to safeguard its UK fuel supplies.

A company spokesman declined to comment on future plans butsaid it was "watching the situation closely".

Some dealers reported that BP could take over Petroplus or some of its facilities but industry sources say this is unlikely as BP has been reducing its exposure to the refining business over the past decade.