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Gazprom is willing to buy a controlling stake in the Russian-British
Gazprom is willing to buy a controlling stake in the Russian-British joint oil venture TNK-BP by the end of the year for $20 billion, business daily Vedomosti said on Thursday.

"The issue of TNK-BP's sale to Gazprom for $20 billion is a decided matter. The deal will be closed by the end of the year," a source close to the management of the Russian energy giant told Vedomosti.

A source close to one of the co-owners of TNK-BP, a joint venture established on a parity basis in August 2003 between Britain's BP and Russia's AAR consortium of Alfa-Group, Access Industries and Renova, confirmed Gazprom's willingness to acquire a controlling stake by the end of the year, the paper said.

According to the source, the energy giant approached Russian shareholders at TNK-BP, Russia's third largest company in terms of crude oil output, early in 2008 with a proposal to buy out their entire stake in the joint venture and told them that it had agreed on purchasing another 1% from BP.

However, under the existing TNK-BP shareholder agreement, each party has a priority right to buy out the stock of its partners, Vedomosti said.

Gazprom has long been seeking to buy a controlling stake in TNK-BP. However, until late last year, a moratorium on the sale of stock by the Russian-British joint venture was in effect, a Gazprom manager told Vedomosti.


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