Kremlin May Sell Rosneft Shares

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MOSCOW, Aug. 4 (UPI) — An aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Kremlin might sell its stake in private oil company Rosneft by 2017.

The Kremlin owns more than a 75 percent stake in Rosneft, the country’s largest oil company. The Kremlin reportedly wants to offload around 25 percent of that by 2013 as part of a $59 million privatization program.

“The government has suggested a full withdrawal from Rosneft’s capital before 2017,” presidential economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin in April resigned as board chairman of the Russian oil company. His move followed orders by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to have state officials pull out of executive positions at major institutions in an effort to increase competition.

Dvorkovich suggested in January that a potential deal between British energy company BP and Rosneft was part of the privatization effort. Board members at Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP, however, complained that proposal violated the terms of its shareholder agreement with BP.

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