NOTHING TO SEE: Russia is downplaying concerns that the potential acquisition by its state-run oil company of a stake in a massive energy joint venture would skew global energy prices. Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Russian news agencies that the government doesn't believe Rosneft's possible purchase would create a monopoly.
BP BACKS OUT: After years of clashing with the other half of the joint venture TNK-BP, BP said in June that it would dump its 50 percent stake. TNK-BP, Russia's third largest energy producer in terms of production, is jointly owned by BP and AAR, a group of Russian billionaires.
ROSNEFT RISING: State-owned Rosneft is the leading candidate to acquire BP's stake. That would drastically change the energy sector in Russia by altering the balance of power between companies in a way not seen since in almost a decade. It would make Rosneft, already Russia's largest oil producer, the world's largest publicly traded oil company _ ahead of ExxonMobil.