Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's government approved the state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom's purchase of Sibneft oil company, a deal that will give the state control over one-third of Russia's oil output.
The government press service said Thursday that the government on Wednesday had approved a draft directive instructing government representatives on the Gazprom board to vote in favor of the purchase, announced Sept. 28. That opens the way for the Gazprom board to approve the deal by a vote in coming days.
Gazprom, the world's biggest gas producer and a key supplier to Europe, announced that it would pay more than US$13 billion (Ђ10.8 billion) in a deal that would give it control of over 75 percent of Sibneft's shares.
Sibneft is controlled by billionaire Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich, reports the AP.