October 25, 2007 / 12:17 PM / 12 years ago

Ukraine refinery ousted head fails to regain HQ

KIEV, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The expelled head of Ukraine’s largest refinery, which is running short of oil since a management dispute, tried but failed on Wednesday night to take over its headquarters, the lawyer of its new head said.

Pavel Ovcharenko, an ex-manager of the Ukrtatnafta company running the Kremenchug refinery, used armed police to oust Sergei Glushko last Friday, leading its key Russian oil supplier Tatneft TATN3.MM to cut supplies.

“There was an attempt to capture (the headquarters) but it failed,” Ovcharenko’s lawyer, Yuri Pocheptsov, told Reuters on Thursday.

“The plant is under the protection of interior ministry troops and Glushko abandoned the plant. Some people were with him (too).”

Interfax Ukraine news agency reported on Wednesday that “unknown people in camouflage” had blocked Ukrtatnafta headquarters in Kremenchug.

Ovcharenko took over the refinery after a court ruled in August that his dismissal three years ago was illegal.

The government disagrees and said that the “appointment of Glushko in 2004 was in keeping with all necessary procedures.” A deputy prime minister on Wednesday called the takeover a “raider’s hit” and said it would be resolved in a week.

But Ovcharenko has taken over the plant in practice — he bought 170,390 tonnes of oil after saying on Tuesday the plant has only enough stock for 12 days on reduced capacity and wants to negotiate up to 350,000 tonnes more from Russian firms.

Tatneft has said it wants the management situation clarified before resuming deliveries. The Russian republic of Tatarstan, which controls Tatneft and owns a 28.8 percent stake in Ukrtatnafta, has backed Glushko as the legitimate head.

Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz owns another 43.1 percent and 18.3 percent is owned by Switzerland’s AmRUZ Trading AG and U.S. firm Seagroup International.

A shareholder’s meeting is slated for Nov. 15.

Ukraine’s government is likely to be replaced after former premier Yulia Tymoshenko and her allies won a slim majority over the Moscow-friendly Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, defeated by President Viktor Yushchenko in the 2004 “Orange” revolution.

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