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    Anti-monopoly service promises to review Total bid for Novatek soon

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    Moscow, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - Anti-monopoly regulators said Tuesday that a review of French energy giant Total's bid for a controlling interest in Novatek, Russia's biggest independent natural gas producer, may be completed by early August.

    The head of Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, Igor Artemyev, told a Moscow news conference that a decision on whether the bid should be given the go-ahead would be made after Novatek had completed restructuring, which was likely to be in two or three weeks' time.

    The French company bought 25% plus one share in Novatek in September 2004 and now it has decided to seek a controlling interest. Novatek's major shareholders include Levit Co., with a 46.56% stake, and Cyprus-registered SWGI, with 40.65%. The Regional Foundation for Yamal Development holds 5.61% of its stock and the Company for Direct Investment in Energy Sector, 3.74%.

    Novatek's natural gas reserves are put at 1.6 trillion cubic meters and its oil reserves total an estimated 259 million metric tons.

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