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23

BP, Malaysia and China Bought Rosneft Shares

British oil and gas concern BP and state-owned Malaysian and Chinese oil producers

British oil and gas concern BP and state-owned Malaysian and Chinese oil producers, between them bought about a quarter of the $10.4 billion of shares sold in Russia's OAO Rosneft, whose July 14 initial public offering was Europe's biggest in seven years.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, bought $1.1 billion of stock, BP gained $1 billion and China National Petroleum Corp. acquired $500 million of shares, Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Sergei Bogdanchikov said today in St. Petersburg.

The companies shouldn't be called strategic investors, as none of them acquired more than 5 percent of Rosneft's total shares.

"On the other hand, we welcome strategic partners in concrete projects,'' Bogdanchikov said at the Group of Eight summit Russia is hosting. He cited ventures with BP, Exxon Mobil Corp. and China's Sinopec in the Far East as examples.

Russia's largest IPO lured oil companies seeking to boost production amid record crude prices, and as fields in areas such as the North Sea age. President Vladimir Putin, who yesterday opened the G-8 summit in his hometown of St. Petersburg, used the sale, which values Rosneft at more than No. 1 Russian producer OAO Lukoil, to tighten his grip over Russia's energy industry, the world's biggest.