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Gazprom may win TNK-BP unit ahead of Mol with lowest bid

OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas company, may win the bidding to buy an oil producer from BP Plc's Russian unit even though it made the lowest bid, Bloomberg reported citing Russian daily Vedomosti.

TNK-BP may award OAO Udmurtneft to Gazprom to help persuade the state-run company to join TNK-BP's Kovytka natural gas project in eastern Siberia, the newspaper said. TNK-BP hasn't developed Kovytka because Gazprom, the sole exporter of Russian gas, hasn't agreed to open its pipelines, it said. TNK-BP may offer Gazprom a majority stake in gas producer ZAO Rospan International plus Udmurtneft if Gazprom agrees to join Kovytka as majority partner, the newspaper said. Udmurtneft, which pumped 123,700 barrels a day in 2005, may sell for $3 billion, people familiar with the bidding said in February. Other bidders include China Petrochemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, as well as Hungary's Mol Rt and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp.