Gazprom Neft, Sibir to Share Moscow Oil Refinery

OAO Gazprom Neft, Russia's second- largest state-run oil producer, will share control of the only crude refinery in Moscow with Sibir Energy Plc, ending years of bickering over the asset.

Gazprom Neft and Sibir have ``settled their differences with regard to the management'' of the Moscow Oil Refinery (MNPZ), the companies said in a joint statement today. ``Management decisions on basic development and key personnel questions will be taken together,'' the statement said. The companies will run the company ``on a parity basis.''

The two companies are considering merging some assets, the statement said. ``The resolution of this conflict between the shareholders will allow for the modernization of the Moscow Oil Refinery, with the goal of providing the region with high- quality oil products.''

The oil facility, which refined about 200,000 barrels a day in 2007, supplies fuel to Russia's largest automobile market.

Gazprom Neft said no one was immediately available for further comment.

``This will put to bed a long dispute over the refinery,'' Sibir board member Stuard Detmer said by phone in Moscow today. ``The city of Moscow was involved in the discussions and fully supports the agreement.'' The city of Moscow owns 18 percent of Sibir.

Sibir owns 50.8 percent of the shares in the refinery's voting shares.

The agreement is ``essential'' for the future of the refinery, ``which needs refurbishing,'' Deutsche Bank analysts Pavel Kushnir and Olga Danilenko wrote in an e-mailed note to clients. ``If the newly-signed agreement is implemented, we expect the two parties to reach a joint decision on the investment program, in particular to upgrade the refinery so that it meets new product quality standards.''

To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Walters in Moscow at gwalters1@bloomberg.net; Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at dtilles@bloomberg.net

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