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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Report: TNK-BP Eyeing Mazeikiu

RIGA, Latvia -- Negotiations could start quickly between oil majors TNK-BP and Yukos over the latter's 53.7 percent stake in Lithuanian refiner Mazeikiu Nafta, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said on Friday.

Brazauskas said in an interview in Riga, where he was attending a state visit, that he was favorably disposed towards the interest shown by TNK-BP.

Brazauskas said that according to the existing shareholders' agreement the government, which holds 40.66 percent of Mazeikiu shares, had to approve any decision to sell the Yukos shares.

"Such negotiations could take place within weeks and months," he said. "We really want a good owner for the Yukos shares. I consider TNK to be a really good company, and they are in a position to fulfill all the obligations concerning the supply of oil [to Mazeikiu]."

The prime minister also said he was aware of interest by other companies in Mazeikiu, but would not identify them.

"We have heard such rumors but have heard nothing officially," he said.

On Friday Lietuvos Rytas daily quoted TNK-BP vice president Vladimir Ruga, as saying his firm was looking to expand through acquisition and was interested in Yukos' majority holding of the Baltic states' only refinery.

"Our firm is ready to consider the possibility of acquiring a stake in Mazeikiu Nafta if we see that it will guarantee strategic advantages," Ruga said.

Brazauskas said earlier this week that the facility could see new owners by June, but declined to name any suitors for Yukos' shares.

A source close to Yukos has said that the group is in talks with several companies about selling its stake in Mazeikiu.

The source said Yukos valued its 53.7 percent stake in the refinery at around $1 billion, based on Mazeikiu's market value of $2 billion and excluding any premium for having control, but Yukos' problems might force it to accept $800 million to $900 million.