January 12, 2005 |
|The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corp. want to buy minority stakes in Russian gas producer Novatek, the EBRD said on Tuesday. |
France's Total has also expressed interest in Russia's largest independent gas company as it seeks to buy a 25 percent stake in it for up to $1 billion. Russian anti-monopoly agency has said it is likely to approve the deal.
The EBRD said in a statement published on its website, www.ebrd.com that it and the IFC -- the private sector lending arm of the World Bank -- were prepared to pay up to $40 million each for stakes in Russia's No. 2 gas company but gave no further details.
Novatek is Russia's largest independent gas producer with reserves of 1.5 trillion cubic metres and 950 million barrels of oil. Its gas output is expected to nearly double in the next few years to 50 billion cubic metres from 27 billion in 2004.
Controlled by a group of private investors led by businessman Leonid Mikhelson, Novatek heavily depends on gas monopoly Gazprom, which gives no access to export pipelines to Europe.