The Russian government has taken measures to save the main state-controlled petroleum companies from their creditors.
The federal officials have included the state-owned oil company Rosneft, the debts of which amount to $36 billion, in the list of “strategic companies” thus complicating bankruptcy procedures. Gas giant Gazprom, which has a debt of 962.7 billion rubel, ($37.8 billion) is also listed as “strategic company” and protected against bankruptcy threats. According to newspaper Vedomosti, the debts of Rosneft have skyrocketed since 2004 when it spent $9.4 billion on the acquisition of former Yukos asset Yuganskneftegaz.
The company subsequently met major problems with handling creditor demands. Vedmosti reports that as much as $13.8 billion of the Rosneft debt was to have been returned by the end of 2006, but that this by mid-May had not yet happened. According to Deputy President of Rosneft, Peter O'Brian, the handling of the debts is all under control.
The list of “strategic companies” was elaborated in 2004. Rosneft, which for some time has lobbied its own inclusion in the list, was included 15 May this year, Vedomosti reports. More than 1000 companies are on the exclusive list, about all of them state-owned defense enterprises and strategic research institutions. Also Gazprom is listed. (barentsobserver.com)