President Vladimir Putin instructed the government on Thursday to approve a program for selling Rosneftegaz's stakes in fuel and energy companies in 2013-2015. Rosneftegaz manages state fuel and energy assets and holds 75.16 percent of state-controlled oil major Rosneft and 10.74 percent of energy giant Gazprom.
The decree guarantees Russia's privatization plans will go ahead, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
'Measures that will be taken under the decree will help stabilize the company's passage through this period of instability in world markets, financial markets, and will guarantee a continued stage-by-stage privatization process,' he said.
The decree takes into account that before the start of 2015 Rosneftegaz will act as a co-investor in fuel and energy firms whose assets are slated for privatization, Peskov said.
'Some energy assets in the conditions of quite turbulent global market developments will receive funds, which they will use to continue their investment programs,' he said. Once the construction of infrastructure facilities is over, these assets will be sold on the market, he added.
Private firms in shelf projects
Also on Thursday, Putin said that any private Russian energy firm can take part in projects to develop the country's continental shelf if it is ready to put cash in and take risks like foreign partners.
'If any [Russian] private company is ready for such risks, it is welcome,' Putin said.
Rosneft had previously made an offer on the joint development of 12 fields on the Arctic shelf to domestic oil companies LUKoil, Bashneft, Surgutneftegaz and TNK-BP. Currently, only LUKoil and TNK-BP have showed their intention to participate in the shelf projects.
Under existing rules, only companies with over 50 percent state ownership and no less than five years' experience working in marine exploration are allowed to develop the Russian continental shelf. Only Rosneft and Gazprom currently meet these requirements, which has prevented the other companies taking on shelf projects without their participation.
Rosneft signed three strategic contracts with American oil giant ExxonMobil, Italy's Eni and Norway's Statoil in April and May to jointly develop offshore hydrocarbon deposits in Russia's Arctic and the country's south.
The foreign companies will get 33.4 percent stakes in separate joint ventures with Rosneft and finance all geological prospecting at the deposits. Under the contracts, Rosneft will have the right to participate in development and production projects of ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil abroad.
Copyright 2012 RIA Novosti. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published May 24, 2012, in Moscow News.)