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15 Apr, 2008 02:52

State to seize control of Gazprom

The Russian government plans to transfer its gas assets, including those in distribution and refining, to Rosneftegaz and then swap its shares for those of Gazprom, according to reports. The move would allow the state to gain control over the gas giant.

The bulk of Gazprom’s companies (it will soon own more than 70) are located in Western Siberia and the Far East, which is precisely what makes them so attractive.

Denis Borisov, analyst at Solid Investment Financial Company, says as Russia moves closer to liberalising its domestic gas market, the role of distribution assets in the Far East increases exponentially.
“Gas extraction in the Sakhalin area alone will grow significantly in the medium term and Gazprom needs to ensure this gas reaches end consumers,” Borisov said.

According to the government decree signed last week, the deal will take place in six months or less.

The state currently owns a 39 per cent stake in Gazprom through the Federal Property Agency.