TRIPOLI - Libya's sovereign wealth fund is to send a team to France next week to examine the prospects of investing in the troubled Petroplus oil refinery, the fund's president said on Wednesday.
"A team will travel next week to study the industrial data of the refinery and draw up a report, on the basis of which we will take a decision," Mohsen Derigia said.
The mission comes after the Libyan Investment Authority denied on Monday that it wanted to invest in the Petroplus refinery in northwestern France.
It said such reports were incorrect and that "the media did not take the trouble to verify them," adding that the LIA had not even carried out a feasibility project.
Derigia said the statement was a denial of reports that a decision had already been taken to purchase the refinery.
The LIA has sent a letter to ask for access to documentation "but without any commitment," he said. "If we find that it is a good investment opportunity, then we will buy."
French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on November 5 that he had received a letter from the LIA saying it would like to examine the possibility of investing in the refinery near Rouen, in France's Normandy region.
In October, a court ordered the Petit-Couronne refinery be liquidated, rejecting two takeover offers from Dubai-based NetOil and Alafandi Petroleum Group, which is based in Hong Kong. But it allowed the refinery to continue operating for two months.
The minister's comments sparked criticism in the Libyan media and on Facebook over the LIA's interest in a "bankrupt" refinery.