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Rosneft may go private in 2012

Failed BP agreement increases government's desire for privatization

Russia's Chief Economic Policy Adviser: "we want Rosneft to be a normal commercial public company"
Russia's Chief Economic Policy Adviser: "we want Rosneft to be a normal commercial public company"

Following the abortive deal with BP over development of arctic oilfields, Rosneft may become a majority private comany in 2012, a year earlier than initially planned.

In an interview with the London Guardian newspaper, Arkady Dvorkovich, chief economic policy adviser to Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, said "we want Rosneft to be a normal commercial public company".

Dvorkovich's statements build on those previously made by Medvedev, which the Russian President said dominated by state-backed firms "poses a danger for the country's future. This is not my choice".

"The original government proposals were to start [the share sale] in 2013 but maybe now it will be brought forward to 2012," added Dvorkovich. "It's not up to me to say what the best timing would be. That is up to the company itself and investment banks working on this."

The Russian state currently holds an 85% stake in Rosneft and is expected to retain a sizeable minority share.

It was not about politics but a business deal and it did not happen. But BP is one of the biggest Russian partners in the energy sector and we expect it to continue to play a major role in Russia and elsewhere."

The interview follows the announcement of preliminary heads of agreement between another Russian state firm, Gazprom, and Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, for exploitation of massive gas reserves in West Siberia.

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