Rosneft, Saras agree to form trading, crude processing venture
Moscow (Platts)--18Dec2012/922 am EST/1422 GMT
Russia's largest crude producer Rosneft has signed a cooperation
agreement with Italian refiner Saras to establish a 50:50 joint venture for
trading, crude processing and the sale of oil products, the companies said
No financial details of the deal were provided, however, and it was not
clear which assets or equity that the company's would contribute to the new
"The joint venture is meant to allow the parties to capitalize on their
respective upstream and downstream positions, focusing around Rosneft's
unique access to crude oil and other feedstock, and Saras' supply and trading
opportunities around the Sarroch refinery," the Saras statement said.
Saras' 300,000 b/d Sarroch refinery on the Italian island of Sardinia
accounts for approximately 15% of Italy's total refining capacity, according
to the company.
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A Rosneft spokeswoman declined to comment on what assets Rosneft may add
to the joint venture, describing the deal as "an initial agreement on forming
a joint venture, not a document establishing it."
Rosneft and Saras also intend to "enter and develop new oil product
markets and activities to complement the existing marketing channels of
Saras," Saras said.
Saras was not immediately available to comment further on the deal.
ACCESS TO CRUDE
In September the companies agreed to set up a working group to review
joint commercial opportunities, as Saras looked to secure long-term crude
supplies for Sarroch.
At the time, the Italian refiner also said it was is considering selling
a stake in the company to a major oil producer as part of a deal to secure
long-term crude supplies.
Credit Suisse said it sees the deal as positive for Saras, which has
been clear for some time that any deal or venture would only be done at
"The JV is meant to allow the parties to capitalize on their respective
upstream and downstream position, focusing on Rosneft's access to crude oil
and other feedstock, and Saras' supply and trading opportunities around the
[300,000 b/d] Sarroch refinery in the Med," Credit Suisse said in a note.
A move to sell a stake in Saras would see the Italian refiner follow the
same strategic direction as its domestic rival ERG, which began cutting its
stake in the ISAB refinery in Sicily four years ago when it sold a 49% stake
to Russia's Lukoil.
ERG has gradually reduced its stake in ISAB since then and has an option
to sell the remaining 20% in ISAB to Lukoil by the end of next year.
The memorandum of understanding was signed in Munich on Saturday by
Saras chairman Gian Marco Moratti and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, the Rosneft
Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, produced 122 million mt (2.4
million b/d) of crude in 2011.
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