A worker checks a pressure gauge at an oil pumping station near the Rosneft company
owned Suzunskoye oilfield, north from the Russian Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. [Photo/Agencies]
Russia, the world's top oil producer, is reported by Bloomberg to seek Indian or Chinese buyers for a stake of 19.5 percent of its oil giant Rosneft as part of efforts to cover budget deficits and privatize its State-owned sector.
China National Petroleum Corp and Indian Oil & Natural Gas Corp have shown interests in the sale, which would fetch at least 700 billion roubles ($11 billion), sources familiar with the matter said. But Rosneft, the country's largest oil producer, will remain the controlling shareholder.
Wang Zhongcai, general manager of the overseas oil exploration unit of CNPC, also known as PetroChina, said in April that the company, as a long-standing partner of Rosneft, intends to participate in Russia's privatization plan.
Rosneft declined to comment, while CNPC was not immediately available.
Russia is putting more focus on energy cooperation with Asia, as China and India are expected to consume 4.8 million barrels per day and 6 million, respectively, by 2040, data from the International Energy Agency said.
Experts said the privatization will bring benefits to Russia, given the falling oil prices coupled with plummeting Russian rouble.
But buyers must do substantial analysis. "There are still many uncertainties over future oil prices despite a slight rebound, so it is hard to tell whether Russian oil assets are worth that large amount of money," said Gao Jian, a senior analyst at commodities consultancy Sublime China Information Co Ltd.
There are also political factors and management risks to be considered while dealing with Russian companies, especially in the state-regulated energy sector, he said.
Rosneft has been long wanting to export its oil riches to China. CNPC and Rosneft have set up a joint refinery project in Tianjin, which is currently under construction and expected to be commissioned by 2019. The refinery project would have a crude oil processing capacity of 16 million metric tons.
Earlier reports said the Russian company has offered a stake in an East Siberian oil producer Taas-Yuryakh with reserves of nearly 1 billion barrels to CNPC as a part of their broader cooperation in 2013.