Venezuela sells Rosneft half of German firm for 1.6 bln dlrs

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Russian state oil giant Rosneft signed an agreement with Venezuela on Friday to acquire its 50-percent stake in German refining firm Ruhr Oel GmbH for 1.6 billion dollars.

The agreement was signed by Venezuala's state-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Rosneft at a ceremony in the Kremlin attended by during a visit by President Hugo Chavez and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The agreement will give Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil firm, a key foothold in the European market.

Ruhr Oel GmbH was until now a joint venture between Rosneft and the German arm of British emergy firm BP. Financial details were not disclosed.

"Rosneft will pay 1.6 billion dollars for the 50 percent stake," Rosneft said in a statement.

"As a result of this acquisition, 18 percent of Rosneft's refining capacity will be located in the heart of industrialised Europe," said Rosneft's President Eduard Khudainatov.

"This transaction is consistent with our strategy to expand our presence with high quality assets in key international markets."

The statement said Ruhr Oel's aggregate equity refining capacity in the four plants where it has stakes is 23.2 million tonnes per year, amounting to approximately 20 percent of total German refining capacity.

© 2010 AFP

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