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    Gazprom Neft to buy 50% in Tomskneft for $3.7 bln

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    MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - A subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom has asked permission from the Federal Antitrust Service (FAS) to buy a 50% stake in Tomskneft from oil company Rosneft, the Kommersant business daily reported on Monday.

    Gazprom Neft Finance, 100%-owned by Gazprom Neft, Gazprom's oil arm, is to buy the stake in Tomskneft, the largest subsidiary of the now bankrupt Yukos oil company, for $3.7 billion.

    "[Last week] we submitted an application to the FAS for permission to buy Tomskneft shares. The deal will be closed as soon as we obtain permission," Gazprom Neft said.

    Tomskneft will produce 11.6 million metric tons (85.5 million bbl) of oil this year, and plans to increase crude output to 13.3 million metric tons (97.8 million bbl) by 2013. The company holds oil and gas production licenses in the Tomsk Region and seven mineral licenses in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous area in West Siberia.

    Rosneft bought a 100% stake in Tomskneft in May 2007 at an auction held to sell Yukos assets. In July Rosneft said it had sold 50% in Tomskneft to the state-owned VEB bank for $3.4 billion. However, VEB has always denied the deal, and Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov said in early December that his company still controlled 100% in Tomskneft. Sources in Rosneft said the company was looking for a buyer.

    In May Rosneft paid $6.8 billion for a lot of Yukos assets, which included Tomskneft, two oil refineries, a number of oil producing companies and a network of gas stations in the region. This means half of Tomskneft cost Rosneft less than $3.4 billion.

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