Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government to Privatize Oil Exporter

The Russian government plans to privatize leading crude oil exporter Nafta-Moskva, transforming it into a more flexible and competitive organization, a senior company official said Friday.

Vladimir Yefremov, an aide to Nafta-Moskva president Anatoly Kolotilin, said the restructuring would take place in line with government instructions.

But he could not say when or how shares would be distributed.

"Maybe it will be next year, but it is difficult to predict because a lot of further approvals are needed," he said.

Officials from the State Property Committee were not available for comment.

It was not clear if foreign investors would be able to take stakes in the company.

Nafta-Moskva, a major exporter of oil on behalf of the state, accounted for about half of Russia's 80 million tons of crude oil exports to the West last year.

Yefremov said the planned restructuring would make the company more flexible and competitive and help it in contacts with Western firms.

"Western companies will be more likely to deal with a private company," he said.

"Our producers will also be more interested in working with us when they get some stock in the company," he said.

Nafta-Moskva, formerly the Soviet oil export monopoly Soyuznefteexport, faces competition from private-sector companies such as Balkar Trading and Alpha-Eko.

But its experience and contacts have made it the undisputed leader among Russia's 15 or so authorized crude exporters.