While ConocoPhillips quits Russia, Rosneft acquires new reserves
ConocoPhillips has put up for sale its 30% stake in Naryanmarneftegaz, a joint venture with Russian oil giant Lukoil. Meanwhile state-owned Rosneft acquired 51% in joint venture with Itera Holding, an independent natural gas producer.
Previously ConocoPhillips sold its 20% stake in Lukoil. ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva justified the sell-off by the gloomy business prospects for non-state owned companies, which can’t obtain any large deposits from the Russian government. International companies are invited to cooperate only with state-owned Gazprom and Rosneft.
The latter once again increased its huge reserves, this time by forming a joint venture with independent natural gas producer Itera Holding. The newly acquired reserves will allow Rosneft to become the third largest natural gas producer in Russia.
These two recent events fit well into a bigger trend of growing state participation in the Russian oil and gas industry, coincided with the anemic growth of the industry in the last eight years. Restricting private initiative within the sector, as well as limiting the industry’s access to the international capital markets and best technologies will likely to result in the stagnation of the oil and natural gas sector and the Russian economy as a whole.