Russia's Rosneft aiming to become top global oil company

MOSCOW (AFP) — State-controlled Russian group Rosneft wants to extract 140 million tonnes of oil by 2012 and become a global top three energy company, its chief executive said Sunday.

"Today we are the leader of the Russian oil industry, and our medium-range objective is to become a global top three energy company," Sergei Bogdanchikov told Vesti 24 Russian television.

"It is necessary for us to augment our production. This year we are extracting more than 100 million tonnes and we estimate that by 2011-2012 we will be able to arrive at a volume of 140 to 145 million tonnes," he added.

In 2007 the group, which became Russia's leading extraction and refinement company when it bought former oil giant Yukos's assets at auction, is aiming for a 103-million-tonne production, Bogdanchikov said Saturday, cited by Interfax news agency. It produced about 80 million tonnes last year.

Before Rosneft bought Yukos's assets, it had planned to extract 100 million tonnes by 2010.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made returning Russian energy assets to state hands a key part of his presidency, with the country's hydrocarbons a key tool in the country's foreign policy.

At the end of 2004, Rosneft had bought Yuganskneftegaz, Yukos's main asset, for 9.35 billion dollars (6.9 billion euros), considered a low price at the time.