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India's ONGC could buy U.K. co. operating in Russia, Kazakhstan

MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - Indian oil and gas company ONGC intends to buy 100% of shares in Imperial Energy, a British oil company operating in West Siberia and Kazakhstan, a business daily reported on Tuesday.

Imperial Energy, which reached a production rate of over 10,000 barrels of oil per day in December 2007 and aims to achieve 25,000 bpd by the end of 2008, said on Monday it had received a takeover offer but gave no further details.

According to Kommersant, which cited an unnamed investment banker, the deal had been prepared since January but only received the approval of Imperial Energy's board of directors and the U.K.'s Financial Service Agency in June. The deal is being managed by Deutsche Bank on behalf of ONGC and by Merrill Lynch on behalf of Imperial Energy.

Imperial Energy's stock will go for at least 12.9 British pounds ($25.7) per share, which would put the company's value at $2.62 billion or 67% above its market capitalization as of Friday, and 40.2% above yesterday's share price, the paper said.

ONGC's sole project in Russia has been a 20% stake in the Sakhalin-I project off Russia's Pacific Coast with recoverable reserves estimated at 2.3 billion barrels of oil and 485 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

The Indian company has made numerous attempts to buy other asserts in Russia, Kommersant said.

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