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Global Economy

Oil embargo against Russia: why 3,000 workers in Sicily are likely to lose their jobs

In recent months, Italy has imported significantly more oil from Russia than before the war in Ukraine – as the only country in the European Union. Most Russian oil arrives in Sicily and goes to the Lukoil refinery in Priolo near Syracuse (Italian: Syracuse).

Because of the oil embargo decided at the EU summit in Brussels, this refinery is now on the brink of collapse.

The 3,000 employees are worried about their jobs.

Marco Candelargiu, an employee at the Lukoil refinery in Syracuse, believes that an even greater economic catastrophe is looming: "Of course we are afraid for our jobs: if Lukoil disappears from here, a whole hub will be involved. There would be a domino effect, which brings down the whole system, the other chemical companies, the port, everything is connected. We're talking about 10,000 jobs here, which accounts for 50% of the gross domestic product of this province."

In Sicily, the unemployment rate is already twice as high as in the rest of Italy. The government in Rome and the local authorities want to launch a disaster plan because of the refinery.

Unlike other Russian energy companies such as Rosneft and Gazprom, Lukoil is not a state-owned company. At the beginning of March, the bosses called for an immediate end to the military operation in Ukraine.

At the end of April, the founder of Lukoil Wagit Alekperow resigned as head of the group.

Many see it as paradoxical that Italy has received more oil from Russia than before since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it also has to do with the fact that companies associated with Russia – even if they are not subject to EU sanctions – hardly get any credit.

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