* Raises Novatek stake to 20.77 pct
* Surpasses Gazprom as largest shareholder
* Acquisition price not disclosed
* Anti-trust clearance to raise stake to 23.49 pct
(Adds details, background)
MOSCOW, March 5 Volga Resources, the fund
controlled by oil trader Gennady Timchenko, on Friday surpassed
Gazprom (GAZP.MM) as the largest shareholder in Russian natural
gas firm Novatek NOTK.MM after raising its stake to 20.77
Luxembourg-based Volga Resources said in a statement it had
acquired an additional 2.57 percent stake in Novatek, Russia's
largest independent gas producer, to raise its ownership from
18.20 percent. It did not disclose the price paid for the stake.
Timchenko, a co-owner of major oil trading company Gunvor,
has expanded his interests in the Russian energy sector with a
number of recent purchases.
Volga Resources this week agreed to buy 25 percent of oil
services company Geotech Oil Services for an undisclosed sum.
Geotech operates in several Russian regions and is among the
world's largest onshore seismic service providers.
Volga Resources said in Friday's statement it had Russian
anti-trust clearance to increase its stake in Novatek to as much
as 23.49 percent.
Gazprom, Russia's gas export monopoly, owns 19.4 percent of
Novatek, its nearest rival in terms of natural gas output.
(Reporting by Robin Paxton; Editing by David Holmes)