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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

21 Yukos Assets Bundled for Auction

Itar-TassAn oil derrick at Yukos' Samaraneftegaz unit, which was previously valued at $3 billion by receiver Eduard Rebgun.
The receiver of bankrupt oil firm Yukos will auction its stake in Gazprom Neft on April 4, Interfax quoted the state property agency as saying Friday.

The stake will be sold with Yukos' northern gas production unit ArcticGaz and 20 other assets in one lot with a starting price of 145 billion rubles ($5.54 billion), the agency said.

A spokesman for the agency declined to comment.

The agency earlier set March 27 as the date for the first auction, when Yukos' 9.4 percent stake in state-controlled oil company Rosneft will be sold.

The starting price of the first lot, which also includes promissory notes issued by Yuganskneftegaz, once Yukos' main production unit, will be 195.5 billion rubles ($7.47 billion). Yugansk was sold in 2004 and Rosneft bought it.

Interfax quoted Yukos receiver Eduard Rebgun as saying he values the firm's assets, which include five major refineries and over 400,000 barrels per day of oil production, at $25.6 billion to $26.8 billion.

The amount exceeds the $22 billion Rebgun announced previously.

"According to information I have, the value is $25.6 billion to $26.8 billion," Rebgun told Interfax in an interview.

Interfax also quoted Rebgun as saying the liquidation discount during the sale would not exceed 30 percent. Rebgun also said 90 percent to 95 percent of Yukos assets would be sold by August 2007.

Gazprom and Rosneft are seen as the main contenders for the assets, which the state wants to auction to recover more than $26 billion in back taxes.

The sell-off will mark the final act in a Kremlin-led demise of what was once the country's largest oil firm.

Yukos' majority shareholder, GML, has called the auction a farce and said tax claims against it were part of the Kremlin's revenge for the political ambitions of its main owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now serving a jail term in Siberia on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the Natural Resources Ministry's environmental watchdog, said Friday that he would seek to revoke four oil field licenses at Yukos unit Samaraneftegaz.

Mitvol said Samaraneftegaz was operating within a national park and he said he would this week appeal to the Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency for four of its licenses to be pulled.

If the agency agrees that there are grounds for revocation, it typically gives companies from three to six months to get rid of the violations.

Asked whether the challenge by Mitvol's agency could reduce the price of Samaraneftegaz at auction, Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Rebgun, declined to comment and said the company had not yet seen the claims.

"All I can say is that they are working on a national park," Mitvol said. "Whether that affects the value or not doesn't interest me."

Oleg Maximov, energy analyst at Troika Dialog, said every oil company was guilty of breaking the country's environmental rules, but it was extremely rare for cases to result in licenses being withdrawn.

"You can read it both ways. One is this is an ordinary event. This guy is inspecting everybody. But with Yukos nothing is ordinary," he said.

"Here you have a very unusual case. The claim is being made on the eve of the auction. Obviously from the buyers' point of view, this kind of claim can reduce the value [of the asset]."

(Reuters, AP)