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Saras and Rosneft will not enter joint venture

Staff writer |
Italian refiner Saras and Russian energy giant Rosneft have called off plans to set up a trading joint venture, Saras Managing Director Dario Scaffardi said.

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The two companies had been seeking to create a trading company that would allow Saras to tap the Russian group's crude oil portfolio in return for access to the wider Mediterranean.

"We decided reciprocally not to go ahead with the joint venture for political reasons," Scaffardi said on the sidelines of the company's shareholder meeting.

"We will exchange information on trading with Rosneft but there will be no formal company structure," Scaffardi said. The Italian refiner, controlled by Italy's Moratti family, will open a trading arm in Geneva near Rosneft's trading offices in the city, he added.

Rosneft bought a 21 percent stake in Saras two years ago. The Russian group's head, Igor Sechin, previously said he was interested in raising its stake.

Saras CEO Massimo Moratti said that the two companies had found a good working balance.

"The ownership structure is stable. I haven't heard they want to increase their stake," he said.

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