Updated 3:23 p.m. Moscow Time
NOVO-OGARYOVO (Moscow Region), October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev on Friday said that the privatization of the country’s Rosneft oil company could happen by the end of 2014.
"This is a public company that has already begun the according preparation work. The dates are tight; however, for a public company it's possible, but not simple of course," Ulyukayev said, adding that it “was in principle possible” by the end of the current year.
In mid-July, Ulyukayev said that the government was ready to privatize 19.5 percent of Rosneft’s shares at a price no lower than the initial public offer. Rosneft’s IPO in July 2006 stood at $7.55 per share.
In August, Ulyukayev confirmed the plans for Rosneft's privatization, explaining that the process will most likely go in two stages.
Rosneft is one of the leaders in Russia's petroleum industry. The company's activities include hydrocarbon exploration and production, upstream offshore projects, hydrocarbon refining, and crude oil, gas and product marketing in Russia and abroad. Currently, the company's main shareholder (69.5 percent) is state-owned Rosneftegaz. BP owns another 19.75 percent, while the remaining 10.75 percent is publicly traded.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is considering the possibility of putting large state packages of energy companies on the market. He explained that even though Russia is not planning on abandoning its controlling stocks in these companies, part of the shares may be sold by the end of 2014. The final decision will depend on market developments.