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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tomskneft Auction Set For May 3

Yukos oil output and refining assets in Siberia and electricity assets in southern Russia will be auctioned off May 3, the government said Saturday.

The Federal Property Fund will auction off the two sets of assets in two separate lots, the government said in the state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper. The assets were cleared for sale Feb. 20.

The company, once the country's largest oil exporter, was declared bankrupt last year after the government levied a bill for more than $30 billion in back taxes.

Tomskneft, Yukos' largest remaining oil-production unit, the Angarsk refinery and Eastern-Siberian Oil are among the assets to be auctioned off in a single lot at a starting price of 166.3 billion rubles ($6.4 billion), the notice said.

Should Rosneft win the bidding for the assets auctioned May 3, it would leapfrog LUKoil, becoming Russia's largest oil producer. President Vladimir Putin is tightening control over the country's oil and gas resources by building up state-run companies such as Rosneft into so-called "national champions."

The Federal Property Fund has also set an initial bid price of 3.71 billion rubles for Yukos' power, service and other assets in southern Russia, the government said in the notice. The holdings include a 26.3 percent stake in KubanEnergo, a monopoly provider of electricity and heat to the Krasnodar region.

The Federal Property Fund will accept bids for participating in the May auction from April 2 through April 28, the notice said.

Some of BP's biggest shareholders plan to question the company about its role in the auction of Yukos' 9.44 percent stake in Rosneft, the Sunday Telegraph reported, without citing anyone.

BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, abandoned its bid less than 10 minutes after the auction started, the newspaper said Sunday. The company's early withdrawal from the sale led to speculation that it was trying to curry favor with the Kremlin, the paper said.

At least two of BP's 20 largest shareholders intend to question the company over the allegations, the newspaper said.