The Kremlin said that Russia had finalised a deal to privatise 19.5 percent of state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Rosneft chief Igor Sechin informed President Vladimir Putin about the completion of a privatisation deal of 19.5 percent of shares of the largest Russian oil company Rosneft, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He added that its investors were the Glencore Consortium and Qatars sovereign fund and that the move would contribute 10.5 billion euros to the budget.
The move comes as oil prices have soared to more than USD 50 a barrel after OPEC members last week hammered out a deal to cut oil output for the first time in eight years. The transaction was made on an upward trend in oil prices and reflects on the value of the company, Putin said in a meeting with Sechin broadcast on state television.
In that sense this is a good time. Putin stressed that the controlling stake in the company would remain in the hands of the Russian government, which controls over 50 percent of shares. The Kremlin leader added that the move was the largest privatisation deal in the global energy sector this year.
Once a little-known firm, Russias Rosneft has enjoyed a meteoric rise under Putin. Headed by the Kremlin strongmans powerful ally Sechin, it has scooped up some of the most prized assets in the Russian oil sector in a series of controversial deals. Moscow - which is not a member of OPEC - has said it is ready to reduce crude output by 300,000 barrels a day in the first half of next year.
OPEC and non-OPEC members are set to meet in Vienna on Saturday to discuss the implementation of the deal to slash output. Experts predict that if oil prices remain higher than expected, the Russian government will use the opportunity to increase spending ahead of the 2018 elections instead of reducing its deficit.