January 12, 2005 |
|The conditions of the merger between state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom and state-owned Rosneft Oil Company may be finalized by Jan. 15, a source in one of the government agencies responsible for the merger told Interfax on Tuesday, Jan. 11. |
“I think that the final scheme of the merger [between Gazprom and Rosneft] will be finalized this week, taking into account the new circumstances [such as the purchase of Yuganskneftegaz by Rosneft],” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The holidays were spent in stormy discussions, a lot is still unclear, but I hope that the decision will be made.”
Earlier MosNews reported that Rosneft bought Baikal Finance Group, which won the Dec. 19 auction and purchased 76.8 percent of Yuganskneftegaz shares. Rosneft’s move made a lot of analysts doubt that the merger with Gazprom would still take place. Government officials, however, maintain that the merger will go ahead, though Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko has already said that Yuganskneftegaz assets won’t be a part of the deal.
Khristenko said that these assets will be separated into a new state-owned oil company. One of the main reasons for this, Khristenko said, is that the state does not want to increase its stake in Gazprom above the 50-percent-plus-one-share limit. But if Yuganskneftegaz assets are counted as Rosneft’s own, that would considerably up the overall price of the state-owned oil company and in the process of a merger the state would have the right to claim a greater stake in the natural gas monopoly.