Gazpromneft Places USD 2.5 Billion Bid for Udmurtneft and Its 26 Oil Fields

16. Juni 2006, 00:00

Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has issued the permission to buy Udmurtneft to OMV , MOL , ...

Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has issued the permission to buy Udmurtneft to OMV, MOL, Perenco, KazMunaiGaz, United Oil Group (part of Basic Element), RussNeft, Gazpromneft, Alliance and OVIT. Two consortiums, Russia’s Itera and Rosneft, and India’s ONGC and China’s Sinopec, joined the tender later.

Udmurtneft is Udmurtia’s largest oil producer, with its output at 5.9 million tonnes last year. The company develops 26 oil fields. Ahead of the sale, Udmurtneft shareholders in April approved dividends of RUR 16.8 billion (EUR 492.4 million) for 2005 and the first quarter of this year.

Speaking at the Tenth International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, Gazpromneft President Alexander Ryazanov said his company had offered TNK-BP to buy Udmurtneft for USD 2.5 billion. However, Viktor Vekselberg, a key shareholder in TNK-BP, made it clear that this offer was not very attractive to TNK-BP because of the low price, media reports said.

Analysts also think the price offered by Gazprom is low. Dmitry Mangilev, at Prospekt investment consultants, values Udmurtneft at no less than USD 3 billion. By unconfirmed reports, Rosneft and Sinopec offered about USD 3.5 billion for Udmurtneft, while Itera and ONGC are ready to pay USD 4 billion, says Natalya Yanakayeva at CentreInvest Group.

“The price corridor offered by them is from USD 2.5 billion to USD 4.8 billion,” she added. But Rosneft rejected the reports as “market rumours.” “We do not have information about the acquisition of Udmurtneft,” said Rosneft spokesman Nikolai Manvelov.

Itera’s Evgeny Ostapov denied the rumors, too. “Together with India’s ONGC, we are interested in Udmurtneft, but the price is being determined by TNK-BP, after which the bidders make their offers. We do not disclose the price,” he said.

Natalya Yanakayeva thinks it is in TNK-BP’s best interests to accept Gazprom’s offer. Perhaps, the Russian company will allow TNK-BP to export gas from the Kovykta field. But in this case, Mangilev argues, Gazpromneft would lose its helium reserves. “It is unlikely that Gazprom would agree to lose these strategic reserves,” he said.

Gazprom might also offer TNK-BP to increase its stake in Megionneftegaz owned by Slavneft, Yanakayeva believes. TNK-BP and Gazpromneft each have 50 per cent of Slavneft, and TNK-BP would like to increase its stake in Slaveneft’s largest asset, Megionneftegaz.

TNK-BP’s spokesman Ivan Gogolev said his company was in talks to sell Udmurtneft, but no details could be released at this point. He only said that TNK-BP had planned to sell its subsidiary in the first half of the year, hoping to complete the deal in June or July 2006.

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