Rosneft deal puts China top of Russia’s oil customers
VLADIMIR SOLDATKIN AND DENIS PINCHUK
MOSCOW — Reuters
Published Wednesday, Mar. 20 2013, 4:07 PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Mar. 20 2013, 4:14 PM EDT
Russia will sharply boost oil supply to China, making Beijing its top customer, in a package of deals to be signed this week, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Russia’s top crude producer OAO Rosneft will increase exports to China by some 34 million tonnes to around 50 million tonnes (1 million barrels per day) by 2018, the sources told Reuters.
The deal could be signed later this week during a visit to Moscow by China’s new president, Xi Jinping, as a part of a broader agreement which may include more arms deliveries and long-discussed gas supply.
The oil agreement may also involve loans up to $30-billion for Rosneft, which is in a process of acquiring Anglo-Russian oil company TNK-BP for $55-billion.
A Rosneft spokesman declined comment.
“No one expected that Rosneft would venture for such a massive oil supply increase to China,” a source said, adding that thanks to possible cheap money from China, Rosneft may refinance the loans it amassed from Western banks for the TNK-BP deal.
The source said that on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to chair a meeting attended by Igor Sechin, his long-standing ally and Rosneft’s president, as well as newly-appointed Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina and Federal Customs Service officials, to discuss the deal.
Russia has been steadily increasing crude exports to Asia at the expense of Europe with flows due to amount to around 15 per cent of its oil exports this year via pipelines to China and