MOSCOW Russia will press ahead with its plans to privatize Russian national oil company Rosneft (ROSN.MM) after its takeover of rival TNK-BP TNBP.MM in a buyout of BP (BP.L) and its partners, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying.
"This purchase does not mean that we will not privatize Rosneft," Medvedev was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying during a visit to Laos on Wednesday.
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who masterminded the deal to buy TNK-BP in a cash and share deal which will make the British major a shareholder in the Russian national oil company, is widely seen as an opponent of further oil industry privatization.
Sechin says he merely opposes the sale of state assets on the cheap and wants to see Rosneft's capitalization rise before it is sold. He has presented the sale of 20 percent of Rosneft to BP as a privatization move.
Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, is a political rival of privatization proponents in the government.
While serving as deputy to Putin during the current president's term as prime minister, he lost the chairmanship at Rosneft in a push by Medvedev to remove ministers from state company boards. News agencies reported this week he had been re-nominated.
Under the government's plan to sell state property, the Russian state, which holds around 75 percent of Rosneft before the BP deal is carried out, is officially planning to exit the national oil company by 2016.
Russia's economy minister, Andrei Belousov, said last week that the government could look at secondary offering of around six percent in 2013. [ID:nL5E8LPDLC] (Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Louise Heavens)