Rosneft targets Iraq, squares up to Gazprom
By Vladimir Soldatkin and Dasha Afanasieva
MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Rosneft (ROSN.MM: Quote) said on Tuesday it may seek an alliance with ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote) or other partners in Iraq and double its Russian gas market share by 2020, boosting its credentials as the world's largest listed crude producer.
Rosneft's Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin told reporters that the company is considering teaming up with its long-standing partner, ExxonMobil, in tapping oil and gas in Iraq.
"We will work with anyone who offers good terms, we'll work with ExxonMobil too," he said to the question of who might partner Rosneft in Iraq. He also said that a delegation from Iraq's oil ministry will come to Moscow on May 10.
"The ministry of Iraq will come to Moscow... by our invitation to work with us," he said after he launched a charm offensive in London where he and other Rosneft's officials made a presentation to investors.
Rosneft has been expanding since Sechin, a powerful long-standing ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was appointed to head Russia's top oil producer last May.
It bought Anglo-Russian oil company TNK-BP TNBP.MM from BP (BP.L: Quote) and the AAR consortium of Soviet-born tycoons for $55 billion, clinched deals with international majors to tap Russia's Arctic hydrocarbon reserves, and acquired domestic gas producer Itera.
Sechin said that the united company may reach a market capitalization of $120 billion in two years - to become Russia's largest company - compared with its current value of around $73 billion and $90 billion that of Gazprom's (GAZP.MM: Quote).
The state may sell as much as 19 percent in Rosneft in a wider privatization, but Sechin said he has not received any instruction from the government, downplaying the prospects of reducing the state's share in the company. Continued...