China made a new move to strengthen its relationship with Russia this week by agreeing to buy a 14 percent stake in the oil and gas company Rosneft, according to a new report by the Associated Press.
The $9 billion purchase will transfer the Qatar Investment Authority’s 14.16 percent Rosneft stake to CEFC China Energy Company Ltd., Glencore said on Friday. China bought the shares at a 16 percent premium to the Rosneft share price over the past month. Final negotiations and regulatory approvals are needed before the exchange goes through, however.
“This deal intensifies the energy relationship between Russia and China. A direct stake in Rosneft will make CEFC China the main driver for the relationship of Rosneft with China, ahead of CNPC, Sinopec and Beijing Gas,” Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Christian Boermel said. “Rosneft keeps its customers close to its heart – buy a stake, get an oil supply agreement. CEFC China could soon take stakes in Rosneft projects, either in cash-intensive upstream projects, or in the downstream.”
The Russian government will continue to own a majority stake of Rosneft after the purchase.
China and Russia have been strengthening their relationship over the past few years as Moscow’s hold over the European energy market begins to weaken. The European Union and Russia have been at geopolitical odds regarding Syria, Ukraine, and several other issues, prompting the EU to seek new sources of natural gas.
The QIA and Glencore acquired a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft just nine months ago. The resale occurred so soon because Glencore, QIA’s partner in the deal, and the QIA itself looked to reduce debt repayments, according to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. The two investors will still own just over 5 percent of Rosneft, which is the portion they purchased with cash, instead of via credit lines.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…