Gazprom Neft Looks at Possibility of TNK-BP Stake Buy

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), August 1, 2008

Gazprom Neft, the crude oil arm of Russia's state-owned OAO Gazprom, has looked at the possibility of acquiring a stake in BP PLC's TNK-BP Holding joint venture, people familiar with the matter said this week.

But the people said the Russian firm is unlikely to make a move before its parent, Gazprom, exercises a call option to acquire a 20% Gazprom Neft stake held by an affiliate of Italy's Eni SpA. Gazprom Neft declined to comment.

Thursday, Eni said Gazprom is likely to make use of the option on the Gazprom Neft shares, which the Italian firm's affiliate bought from bankrupt oil producer OAO Yukos in April 2007. The call option is due to expire in April 2009.

Gazprom Neft is also unlikely to enter the joint venture before TNK-BP's shareholders - BP and Russian consortium Alfa-Access-Renova - settle an ongoing dispute, the people said.

Gazprom was already known to be interested in getting a stake in TNK-BP, but Gazprom Neft - which shares a focus on oil - "would make more sense" as a shareholder, one of the people said.

"They have looked at it (TNK-BP)," another person said, referring to Gazprom Neft. The person added that the interest is current but said he is unaware of any talks.

The people familiar with the matter said the acquisition may not be in cash and could also be through a share swap with one of TNK-BP's existing shareholders.

Both BP and the Russian shareholders, however, have said they don't want to sell their stakes in TNK-BP.

If the operation happens, Gazprom Neft's entry into TNK-BP would represent another telling example of increased control by the state over the oil industry in Russia.

Gazprom Neft is itself the result of the acquisition by Gazprom in 2005 of Sibneft, an oil company then owned by oligarch Roman Abramovich.

But Gazprom or Gazpromneft face a potential rival in OAO Rosneft, another Russian state-owned oil producer.

In the first months of this year, it was pretty clear that Gazprom would come into the company, a person close to the matter said. But he said that as soon as Igor Sechin, chairman of Rosneft, was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister in the new cabinet of Vladimir Putin, the sentiment changed and people started saying that Rosneft and not Gazprom should take a stake in TNK-BP.

However, another person familiar with the matter said Rosneft is unlikely to try buying a stake in TNK-BP at this stage because it is busy preparing other moves.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Related Companies
 Company: BP plcmore info

 - Industry Must Be 'Stimulating, Challenging' to Inspire Millennials (Oct 25)
 - BLOG: Challenging Attitudes toward Sexuality in Oil, Gas (Oct 25)
 - BP General Council Bondy To Leave At Year End (Oct 24)
 Company: OAO Gazprommore info
 - Russia's Gazprom Neft CEO Says Could Slow Oil Output Growth (Oct 18)
 - Gazprom Wants More Than 25% Of OMV North Sea Assets (Sep 15)
 - Ifax: Gazprom Invites China's CNOOC to Take Part in Offshore Oil Exploratio (Sep 6)
 Company: Rosneftmore info
 - Russian Oil Firm Rosneft May Buy Own Shares In Stake Sale (Oct 21)
 - Rosneft's Sechin Says Russia Has Potential To Raise Oil Output (Oct 20)
 - Bashneft Shareholder Says Received Assurances From Rosneft (Oct 20)
 Company: ENImore info

 - ENI: FPSO Soon Ready to Start Work at East Hub Development Project (Oct 14)
 - Mozambique Minister's Sacking Will Not Affect Gas Project Decision (Sep 30)
 - Eni: Laarich East-1 Well Onshore Tunisia Has 2,000 Bpd Capacity (Sep 19)
 Company: TNK-BPmore info
 - Rosneft Board Member Rejects Criticism of TNK-BP Buyout (Oct 4)
 - Rosneft: TNK-BP Integration 'Mostly Complete' (Jun 20)
 - TNK-BP Acquisition Boosts Rosneft's 1Q Production (Apr 30)
 Company: JSC Gazprom Neftmore info
 - Gazprom 2015 Profit Jumps as Kremlin Demands Higher Dividend (Apr 28)
 - Russia's Gazprom Neft to Delay Novoportovskoye Oilfield Launch (Apr 19)
 - Russia's Gazprom Neft, China's CNPC Agree to Cooperate in Oil Sector (Dec 17)

Our Privacy Pledge

Most Popular Articles

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Business Development Manager
Expertise: Business Development|Construction Manager|Sales
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Business Development Manager
Expertise: Business Development|Construction Manager|Sales
Location: Denver, CO
Project Manager
Expertise: Engineering Manager|Project Engineer
Location: Columbia, SC
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $50.79/BBL 1.30%
Light Crude Oil : $49.96/BBL 1.10%
Natural Gas : $2.77/MMBtu 2.12%
Updated in last 24 hours