MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti)
UK oil giant BP "may increase its stake" in Russian oil major Rosneft, Rosneft's CEO Igor Sechin said on Friday, as part of BP's disposal of its 50 percent stake in the TNK-BP joint venture.
Offers made to Rosneft include “the possible acquisition of shares in Rosneft, increasing BP’s stake in the state company. This is a very interesting proposal,” he said.
Earlier this week Russian business daily Kommersant reported Rosneft was close to acquiring BP’s 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, with BP set to get $10-15 billion in cash and over 12.5 percent of Rosneft's stock, becoming Rosneft’s largest shareholder after the Russian government.
BP purchased an initial 1.3 percent stake in Rosneft in its 2006 IPO.
Sechin confirmed talks on the issue would continue, adding a deal would be in line with the goal of reducing the Russian state’s role as a shareholder in the company.
A price for BP's stake in Rosneft and a deadline for a deal has yet to be agreed, he said, while welcoming BP’s decision that a portion of the funds raised through the sale of its stake in TNK-BP would be reinvested in Russia “including in the acquisition of a stake in Rosneft.”
Sechin also confirmed on Friday Rosneft would be willing to discuss a purchase of the AAR consortium's stake in TNK-BP, should any such approach be made.
Rosneft has already expressed its interest in buying BP's 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, but analysts think it more likely to buy out the Russian AAR partners' stake.
A share-swap and Arctic assets deal between Rosneft and BP was negotiated in January, but had to be abandoned in the face of legal challenges by AAR, which insisted its share agreement with BP in TNK-BP set out that any operations BP carried out in Russia had to be first offered to the joint venture.
BP announced earlier this year it would dispose of its stake in TNK-BP after a long-running dispute over management with AAR, which also owns 50 percent of the joint venture.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.