No comment from Total on purchase of Sibneft shares

Total, a French oil company, had no comment regarding information about its possible purchase of 25% of the Sibneft shares.

"We never comment on the information about our market operations," Total's press service in its Paris headquarters told RIA Novosti on the telephone on Monday.

The Financial Times reported that the French company intends to buy a 25% stake in Sibneft.

Earlier, the newspaper reported that Roman Abramovich, the main Sibneft shareholder, conducted negotiations about the sale of 46% of the company's shares with the Royal Dutch/Shell, ChevronTexaco and Total.

"If Moscow maintains its position, Total will edge out ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil of the U.S., and Royal Dutch/Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy group, in securing the second large corporate partnership in one of the most promising oil frontiers, the newspaper reported

The newspaper's source said that the American administration, on learning this, was extremely annoyed.

Total, according to the Financial Times source, would like to buy 25% plus 1 shares of the Sibneft. One of the bankers told the newspaper that the shares may cost about $4 billion.

The negotiations "are not in their final stages," the newspaper reported.

Sibneft refused to comment on this information. "We do not comment on market rumors," Alexei Firsov, Sibneft's press secretary, told RIA Novosti. Similar information about the sale of Sibneft shares appeared some time ago as well, he said.

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