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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gazprom vetoes Rosneft asset swap

27 February 2007 - Upstream onLine - Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom today ruled out a possible swap with state-controlled oil company Rosneft of upstream oil assets for Rosneft's gas pipelines in the Far East. "Gazprom's involvement in the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk gas pipeline does not foresee a swap of production assets," said Gazprom's spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov, Reuters reported. Interfax news agency earlier reporteded Rosneft chief executive Sergei Bogdanchikov as saying he would be prepared to cede the pipelines in return for a share in the West Siberian Priobskoye oilfield. But he said Rosneft had had no such offer from Gazprom. Gazprom has repeatedly said it wanted to buy the two gas pipelines running from Sakhalin Island to the Khabarovsk region on the mainland - part of a handful of domestic Russian gas pipelines that do not belong to Gazprom. The exchange of comments came as the two giant companies prepare for the last round in their protracted battle over the assets of the bankrupt oil company Yukos, whose assets will go under the hammer as early as next month. Gazprom's oil arm, Gazpromneft, owns a licence for the southern part of the giant Priobskoye field, while the northern part is being developed by Rosneft's unit Yuganskneftegas, a former top unit of Yukos. Rosneft also has wide involvement in energy projects on Russia's Sakhalin Island, including the Sakhalin-1 venture, which it co-owns with US supermajor ExxonMobil, India's ONGC and a Japanese consortium. Sakhalin-1 is already producing oil and is obliged by its licence terms to start exporting gas next year, but the partners have not yet agreed how they will organise gas exports. The project's leader, ExxonMobil, had said Sakhalin-1 could pipe gas to China but Rosneft and ONGC are both in favour of liquefying it instead. Sakhalin-1 does not have a plant to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG), but at the end of last year Gazprom agreed to buy control of the nearby Sakhalin-2 project, the world's biggest LNG project, and is looking for more gas to process. Rosneft and Gazprom signed a wide-ranging co-operation deal in November, which covered the energy giants' joint work in exploration, production, transportation and refining of hydrocarbons. Gazprom has a monopoly on gas exports, but Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 are production sharing agreements, making them exceptions to the rule. That means ExxonMobil's proposed export pipeline would be the only independent gas export pipeline in Russia if it went ahead.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Auction of Yukos Gazprom Neft shares set for April 4

MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) -- Yukos's 20% stake in Gazprom Neft [RTS: SIBN], formerly Sibneft, as well as 21 other assets, will be auctioned off April 4, a spokesman for the bankrupt oil company's receiver said Friday. Nikolai Lashkevich said the starting price for the lot has been set at 144,776,328,088 rubles ($5.45 billion). Under an October 2003 merger agreement between what were once Russia's two leading oil companies, Yukos acquired 92% of Sibneft stock, while Sibneft took a 26% interest in Yukos. The merger was later voided, and the court left Yukos with a 20% stake. Media reports said earlier Yukos's stake in Rosneft was assessed at 182.3 billion rubles ($7 billion) and in Gazprom Neft 105.5 billion rubles ($4 billion). Once Russia's largest crude producer, Yukos was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006 after three years of litigation with authorities over tax arrears. The Yukos group, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison term for fraud and tax evasion, now faces multi-billion dollar claims from creditors, including state-controlled oil company Rosneft, Rosneft-owned former production unit Yuganskneftegaz, the Federal Tax Service, and more than 20 other companies. A consortium of appraisers estimated Yukos assets at $22 billion. However, creditors' total claims against the company amount to some $26 billion.

Gazprom, BP discuss LNG joint project

MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom and BP have discussed the possible establishment of a joint venture for liquefied natural gas, the Russian energy giant said Thursday. "The parties discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, particularly the possibility of setting up a joint enterprise to develop international business, including in liquefied natural gas production," Gazprom said. British Petroleum is a leader in the world LNG trade and one of the world's biggest non-state oil and gas companies. Its oil reserves exceed 18.3 billion barrels of the oil equivalent, natural gas - 1.4 trillion cubic meters. The company's main activities are development and production of oil and gas, wholesale and retail trade in oil products, gas sales, and petrochemistry.

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