Russian bankruptcy official: Chevron interested in acquiring Yukos assets

U.S. oil company Chevron Corp. has expressed interest in acquiring assets of oil giant OAO Yukos, a Russian bankruptcy official said Friday.

Nikolai Lashkevich, a spokesman for Yukos bankruptcy supervisor Eduard Rebgun, told The Associated Press that several international companies had inquired about participating in any auction or selloff of the assets of Yukos, which was once Russia's largest oil producer.

"The receiver's office has received letters expressing interest in acquiring certain Yukos assets from a number of large international companies, including from the U.S. company Chevron," Lashkevich told AP.

There was no immediate comment from Chevron on the statement.

A day earlier, Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly OAO Gazprom said major U.S. energy companies were interested in acquiring assets of Yukos, which was forced into bankruptcy by government tax claims alongside the prosecution of its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Gazprom did not specify which companies were interested, reports AP.

Yukos' remaining assets include units that produce some 470,000 barrels per day as well as two refineries. The bankruptcy supervisor is readying the company for a series of auctions. Analysts expect them to be dominated by Gazprom and OAO Rosneft, which is also state-controlled and close to the Kremlin.

Rosneft acquired Yukos' biggest production unit after its disputed auction against back tax bills in 2004.

Prosecutors on Monday filed new money laundering charges against Khodorkovsky and his business partner in what their defense lawyers said was a new effort to keep the tycoon behind bars beyond next year's presidential elections.

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