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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gazprom Neft 'circling Russneft'

03-05-2009 - Upstream OnLine - Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom, may emerge as a new owner of mid-sized oil outfit Russneft, according to reports. Moscow-based financial daily Vedomosti quoted a source close to Sberbank , Russia's largest bank, as saying such a deal could take place because the current effective owner of Russneft, Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, was struggling to service his debt. Deripaska, whose aluminium company UC RUSAL is already involved in talks with banks to restructure $7.5 billion, borrowed $4.1 billion to buy Russneft in 2007 and the company itself has a debt of $3 billion, Vedomosti said. Most of the debt belongs to Sberbank, which wants Gazprom Neft to take over Russneft and its debt. Sberbank, Gazprom Neft and Russneft were not immediately available for comment, a Reuters report said.

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