Gazprom Mulls Stake in Spanish Oil Firm

Gazprom is considering buying a 20 percent stake in Spanish oil major Repsol, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said Wednesday.

"Gazprom is considering buying 20 percent of Repsol, which is offered for sale by Spanish builder Sacyr Vallehermoso," Alexander Zhukov told a Russia-Spain intergovernmental commission in Madrid, RIA-Novosti reported.

Repsol shares rose nearly 3 percent on the report, while shares in cash-strapped Sacyr spiked 9 percent.

A spokesman for Spain's industry ministry said, "This is a private sector issue in which we would not intervene." In September, however, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said he preferred a Spanish buyer for the stake.

Sacyr Vallehermoso, Repsol and Gazprom declined to comment, though Gazprom denied in October that it was in talks to buy the stake.

One banker involved in the process said Wednesday that he doubted a Russian bid would be successful because of potential opposition from the Spanish government.

"A Russian owner is somewhere down the list of who the government would view as an attractive owner of the stake," he said, adding, "The government will do everything it can to convince the banks to keep Sacyr afloat."