Officials of Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, have confirmed that it has effectively bought the core business of Yukos, re-nationalising more than one tenth of the country’s crude output. It makes Rosneft, whose chairman is a close ally of President Putin, one of Russia’s biggest oil firms with production of close to one and half million barrels a day.
Yuganskneftgaz was bought by the previously unheard of finance group Baikal at an auction at the weekend for seven billion euros. Most observers regarded it as a front for a Moscow bid. Today’s sell-on by Baikal would appear to confirm that. The move is one of the most decisive interventions by the Kremlin in business affairs since the fall of the Soviet Union. It may put Yugansk’s assets beyond the reach of Yukos’ lawyers who are trying to halt the piecemeal destruction of the company.