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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rosneft Wins More Yukos Assets in Auction

Rosneft won an auction of property and equipment of bankrupt oil firm Yukos on Thursday, paying 5.85 billion rubles ($229 million) for assets that may help the state-controlled major secure large crude reserves.

Rosneft, which has so far emerged as the winner of almost all important Yukos property auctions, beat previously unknown firm Benefit with a bid just 2 percent above the starting price. The auction took less than 10 minutes.

That was two bids higher than the starting price of 5.73 billion rubles, one of the fastest sales this year.

The state oil company bid directly, rather than through a unit, as it did at other auctions this year.

The lot included property rights and equipment at 11 large oil and gas fields, and their owner will have an advantage in booking reserves in the future. The fields are in the Samara region and the Evkenia and Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous districts, where Rosneft produces most of its oil, including the East Salym, Tersk-Komovsk and Sredne-Balyksk fields.

"The acquisition of these assets will allow the company to strengthen its position in these strategically important regions," Rosneft said in a statement.

Industry experts say the fields may contain hundreds of millions of barrels in probable and possible reserves, further boosting Rosneft's rich resources base. The firm's stock rose 3.5 percent to 220.25 rubles ($8.64).

The lot did not include licensing rights as their sale is not allowed by law, but Yukos receiver Eduard Rebgun said Wednesday that the owner of the equipment and land would have natural advantages in gaining licensing rights.

Yukos was destroyed by back tax claims of more than $30 billion. The firm's former owners say the campaign against the company was Kremlin revenge against political activities of Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now serving an eight-year prison term in Siberia.

Rosneft became the country's largest oil company this year, spending more than $25 billion on Yukos' production units, refineries, retail chains and other property.

With proven oil reserves of 15.96 billion barrels Rosneft, the country's largest oil producer and crude refiner, is the world leader among public companies.

Revenues from Yukos' asset sales have already exceeded $30 billion and Rebgun's spokesman said there would be two or three more auctions before Yukos becomes an empty shell.

The next auction will be for Yukos' transportation assets, including its huge park of rail cars. The auction will take place on Aug. 8 with a starting price of 18.48 billion rubles ($724 million).

Rebgun will also soon hire a firm to value Yukos' assets abroad owned by holding firm Yukos Finance, said his spokesman, Nikolai Lashkevich.

Yukos' top foreign property is its stake in Slovak pipeline operator Transpetrol, which is valued at more than $100 million. But Rebgun said Wednesday that he believed Yukos and its former owners could have over $10 billion in property and assets abroad, which he would fight hard to recover.

Lashkevich said Rebgun had already paid out 400 billion rubles of Yukos' debts, including to the Federal Tax Service and Rosneft. Some 300 billion rubles ($11.75 billion) are yet to be paid to other creditors, he said.

Bloomberg, Reuters