Bogdanchikov: Rosneft Aims for No. 1

State oil producer Rosneft plans to become the country's biggest oil company by 2008, after more than tripling output this year by adding the Yukos unit that had been confiscated last year to pay back taxes.

Rosneft plans to raise output by a third through 2010 to reach 104 million metric tons per year (2.1 million barrels per day), compared with 75 million tons expected this year, company president Sergei Bogdanchikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday in the Kremlin.

"We have set ourselves a goal of reaching the top spot in 2007-08," Bogdanchikov said, during the meeting that was broadcast by state-run Rossia television.

Putin's push to increase control of the energy industry has made Rosneft Russia's No. 2 oil exporter, pumping almost as much crude as Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company.

Russia plans to sell shares in Rosneft next year to cover the oil company's $7.1 billion purchase of a stake in Gazprom. That transaction raised the government's holdings in Gazprom to a majority.

Rosneft's expansion will not be allowed to destroy competition in the oil industry, Putin said Wednesday.

"We aren't creating a monopoly here," Putin said. "Other companies also are actively developing."

Rosneft, which is now the second-largest oil producer, plans to increase its share of the domestic oil market to 27 percent, from 15 percent, Bogdanchikov said.

Rosneft is certain that Russia has sufficient oil resources to fill a planned pipeline to the Pacific Coast, Interfax reported.