Russia may ease foreign access to energy companies: report

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Russia's anti-monopoly service is asking the government to make it easier for foreign investors to acquire stakes smaller than 25 percent in resource extraction companies, a report said Wednesday.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service is calling for a law to be amended to allow such deals in strategic sectors to go through without government sanction, the Vedomosti business daily said, citing government sources.

Currently, foreign companies have to gain permission from a government commission to purchase stakes worth between 10 percent and 25 percent in Russian companies that extract oil, gas, and several types of metals.

Russia has announced a privatisation drive that would see stakes in several key state companies pass into private hands. The government has also sought foreign capital to modernise its outdated infrastructure.

The country's oil giant Rosneft recently struck a stake-swapping deal with BP in which the British company gained control of 9.5 percent of Rosneft.

© 2011 AFP

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