Global commodity trading firm Vitol is set to buy a controlling stake in Italian refiner Saras.
Vitol has agreed to buy a 35% stake in Saras from the Moratti family, who currently control the company, it said in a statement on its website on Sunday.
The firm intends to launch a takeover bid for the remainder of Saras's shares once the deal comes through.
Saras owns the 300,000 b/d Sarroch refinery on Sardinia, the largest single-site refinery in the Mediterranean.
"Our ambition is to invest in a strong Italian energy company, run by an empowered local management team and supported by Vitol's expertise and market reach," Russell Hardy, CEO of Vitol, said in the statement.
"We appreciate the significance of Saras within Sardinia, and the country more broadly, and are committed to continuing the Moratti family's legacy of diligent stewardship, safe operations and support for the local community and employees.
"Saras's business is highly complementary to Vitol's core operations and this transaction will strengthen European energy security and enhance supply for a key European energy asset."