OAO Novatek, the second-largest producer of natural gas in Russia and OAO Gazprom, which is controlled by the state, have agreed to own equal number of shares in ServerEnergia, a Siberian asset they jointly control.
Novatek currently owns a 59.8% stake in ServerEnergia and Gazprom controls the remaining 40.2%.
As per the deal that Novatek’s board approved, the firm will sell 9.8% of its stake in the Siberian oil and gas venture to the oil production arm unit of Gazprom, Novatek said on Tuesday. Gazprom will pay $980 million to advance its stake in ServerEnergia.
After the new deal, each of the two firms will control 50% of the joint business, which is valued at $10 billion.
The gas producer is owned by billionaires Leonid V. Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko and is selling its ServerEnergia shares at a price that values the Siberian business more than three times higher than in 2010. The firm acquired a minority stake in ServerEnergia in 2010.
“Our decision to sell this equity stake and equalize our respective ownership interest is based on our long-term strategic partnership with Gazprom Neft and a successful track record of asset management on a parity basis,” Mikhelson is quoted by stockmarketwire as saying.
The latest developments bring to seven the number of times control of ServerEnergia has changed since 2007 when Eni SpA and Enel SpA acquired the venture at an auction as Yukos Oil Co. underwent liquidation.
As reported by Bloomberg, the Italian firms later sold 51% to Gazprom, which sold to Novatek and Gazprom Neft for $1.6 billion in November 2010. Gazprom Neft and Novatek acquired Eni in 2013.
Novatek has been looking for ways to enhance its earnings from crude output but could not consolidate its business due to lack of priority voting rights as a shareholder.
ServerEnergia controls up to 14.5 billion barrels of oil in reserves.
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