Russian government downplays Rosneft concerns

Russia‘s energy minister says Rosneft’s possible purchase of BP’s stake in a joint venture does not pose a threat to competition in the country’s oil market.

Moscow-based TNK-BP is jointly owned by BP and AAR, a group of Russian billionaire shareholders. The two partners have been locked in a boardroom dispute for much of the group’s existence. BP said in June it intends to sell its 50% stake and state-owned Rosneft is considered the likeliest buyer.

Minister Alexander Novak told Russian news agencies on Thursday that the government does not that believe Rosneft’s possible purchase would make the industry a virtual monopoly.

Rosneft, already the largest oil company in Russia, said it evaluates “a number of opportunities” on the market, but would not confirm the upcoming deal.

BP and AAR had no comment.

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