ROME (AP) — Russian oil company Lukoil said Monday that it has reached an agreement for the sale of a refinery plant in Sicily, where thousands of workers have been fearing job losses due to the European embargo on Russian oil.

A company statement said that the sale of the ISAB Srl refinery to G.O.I Energy is planned to be completed by the end of March pending various approvals by authorities, particularly the Italian government.

The refinery employs 3,500 people and indirectly supports the jobs of 6,500 others. The workers at the refinery protested in late 2022, fearing for their future as a consequence of the embargo imposed because of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

About 20% of Italy’s oil is refined at the plant.

Lukoil said that under the agreement “the new owner will retain jobs and ensure health and safety conditions.” It noted that G.O.I. Energy investors own a majority stake in Bazan Group, which operates Israel’s largest integrated refining and petrochemical facility.

No financial details of the agreement were immediately released.

Lukoil said that “for the efficient operation of the complex after its acquisition, G.O.I. Energy formed a partnership with Trafigura, an international trader of oil and petroleum products.

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