Rosneft won clearance to bid for the remaining stake in a mid-sized Russian oil producer in which it already owns 35 percent, continuing an expansion drive which has made it the world’s largest oil company by output in just a year.
Russia’s antimonopoly watchdog FAS said in a statement on Tuesday it had approved Rosneft’s proposed purchase of the outstanding stake in Taas-Yuriakh, in which it bought 35.3 percent last year for $444 million from Sberbank (SBER.MM).
The deal comes as Rosneft ramps up its supplies to China, having agreed in June to double exports to Beijing to reach a total of 360 million tonnes over the next 25 years (300,000 barrels per day) in a deal worth $270 billion.
Rosneft, which had not previously announced the planned acquisition of the outstanding shares of Taas-Yuriakh, declined immediate comment. Unlike most Western markets, Russia has no hard and fast rule requiring a full offer on the purchase of more than 30 percent of a company’s stock.
Over 54 percent in Taas-Yuriakh is owned by private investors and 10.48 percent by UK-based emerging markets specialist Ashmore Group.
Led by Igor Sechin, Rosneft transformed into the world’s top oil company by output by snapping up TNK-BP in a $55 billion deal earlier this year.
Taas-Yuriakh initially plans to produce up to 1 million tonnes a year (20,000 barrels per day) from its East Siberian Srednebotuobinskoye field and aims to increase its output to 6.15 million tonnes (120,000 bpd) by 2016.
The field with reserves of almost 1 billion barrels is connected to the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean trunk by a 160 km pipeline.