Russia PM: Rosneft Yet to Ask for Govt Approval to Buy TNK-BP Stake

MOSCOW - Russian state-controlled oil giant OAO Rosneft has not yet asked the government for permission to buy a stake in Anglo-Russian oil producer TNK-BP, Russian news agencies quoted a deputy prime minister as saying Wednesday.

"I have heard that a declaration of intent has been signed. There are no legally binding documents as yet," Arkady Dvorkovich said, Prime and Interfax news agencies report. "No one has asked us for (government) approval, at least, not formally."

Rosneft has reached a preliminary deal to buyout the group of billionaires, known as AAR, which owns a 50% stake in TNK-BP, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal earlier Wednesday. BP PLC, which owns the other 50%, is nearing a deal to sell its 50% stake in Russia's third-largest crude producer, the people said.

Mr. Dvorkovich said Rosneft's potential purchase would require approval by the government and a government directive to proceed. He earlier said the government was against state companies expanding their participation in the economy.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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