Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, is seen as one of the most likely candidates to buy the Russian company, according to analysts at the United Financial Group. Exxon Mobil is believed to have been in talks with YukosSibneft until Sibneft demanded a de-merger. While ChevronTexaco and Total are seen as potential buyers of Sibneft, Exxon Mobil can be seen as the most likely buyer of YUKOS. However, it is unclear whether Russian authorities will agree to the two large deals in the country's oil sector. If they OK only one deal, most likely, it will be Sibneft, and the struggle will be fierce, analysts say.
At a meeting with analysts in New York on March 10, Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond spoke positively about the prospects for the Russian market. In particular, he praised progress in many areas important for investors. In his opinion, Russian authorities have a much better understanding of the importance of a favorable business climate and stable tax system. According to Raymond, Russia is one of few places where large oil companies can buy assets capable of significantly influencing their businesses. Russia has everything - huge reserves, high production rates and manufacturing growth.