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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gazprom to Overhaul Its Oil Subsidiary

Feb. 26, 2007 – Kommersant – Gazprom has appointed Gazprom Export to control all export deals of the oil producer Gazprom Neft. The $10 billion contracts may ultimately go to Gazprom Export’s trading partner. Industry experts say that Gazprom’s announcement aims to cut the price for a 20-percent stake in Gazprom Neft’s which is up for sale after YUKOS’s bankruptcy. Gazprom’s board has decided to export oil and oil products from the company’s subsidiaries through one company, Gazprom Export, Gazprom said in a press release late last week. Up until now Sibneft Oil Trade Company, owned by Gazprom Neft, has been responsible for all oil exports of Gazprom Neft. Gazprom’s oil producer reaped $10.352 billion in exports in 2005. Later data is not available. Those in the market say that Gunvor, a trader which now buy almost all Gazprom Export’s oil, will become the chief beneficiary of this decision. Gunvor is believed to be an asset of Gennady Timchenko, a co-owner of Rossiya and President Vladimir Putin’s former colleague. Gazprom Export will start to manage export contracts in the second half of the year, according to sources of Kommersant. Gazprom’s decision may cut the ask price for 20 percent of Gazprom Neft – an asset of YUKOS which has been put up for sale. The Russian gas giant is set to buy the stake to overhaul the oil company to bring it under Gazprom’s control. Gazprom Neft CEO and Gazprom's deputy chairman of board Alexander Ryazanov insisted that the company be fairly independent from its major shareholder. Alexander Ananenkov, another deputy chair of the gas monolist, opposed the idea. However, after Mr. Ryazanov left the company, his successors gave the green light to the complete merger with Gazprom.

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