A view of Meroil facilities at Zona Franca in Barcelona, Spain, March 11, 2022.
A view of Meroil facilities at Zona Franca in Barcelona, Spain, March 11, 2022. Reuters / ALBERT GEA

Spanish oil operator Meroil has no plans to sell its 50% stake in a joint venture with Russia's Lukoil in a Barcelona oil terminal due to the conflict in Ukraine, a top executive told Reuters on Friday.

Meroil is confident its 10-year-old project will not be affected by any potential new sanctions against Moscow and is not concerned about any reputational damage, Director General Miguel Paya said, arguing that the tie-up with Lukoil was very limited and the terminal did not receive Russian oil or ships.

Many Western companies have broken business ties with Russian firms or shunned their products or wound up Russian operations following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Shell, the world's largest petroleum trader, and Italy's Eni are among energy groups which have suspended the purchase of oil from Russia, while British oil major BP exited its 19.75% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Lukoil, Russia's second-largest oil producer, said earlier this month it was concerned by the "tragic events in Ukraine" and supported the negotiations to end the conflict.

The Meroil-Lukoil deal was sealed in 2010 and the Barcelona terminal - with a storage capacity of 360,000 cubic meters of refined oil and with a concession until 2047 - opened in 2012.

"Everything remains the same ... they are calm. They continue working and so do we," Paya said referring to Litasco, Lukoil's Swiss trading arm that holds a 50% stake in the Barcelona plant.

He said his understanding is that any potential sanctions against Lukoil would not affect their JV, but conceded the situation was unpredictable.

"There is not much we can do about it," he said, adding Meroil had no say over Lukoil's stake.

The joint venture company, named Meroil Tank, reported a 1.5 million euro ($1.64 million) net profit in 2020, according to the latest public records.

($1 = 0.9122 euros)