Russia’s state oil company won a claim for 62.4 billion rubles ($2.2 billion) from OAO Yukos Oil Co., raising the prospect the government will seize the last oil fields of what was once the country’s biggest crude exporter.
OAO Rosneft won its victory today in the Moscow Arbitration Court came as prosecutors said they will file new charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed Yukos owner awaiting a verdict in his trial. The suit is one of three Rosneft filed seeking more than $12 billion from Yukos for damages to OAO Yuganskneftegaz, a Yukos unit Rosneft acquired in December.
President Vladimir Putin’s government is tightening its control of the nation’s energy industry, the world’s largest. The government jailed Khodorkovsky in 2003 and seized and sold Yukos’s biggest asset last year, raising concern in Europe and the U.S. about property rights and the rule of law.
“Putin once famously said that once you start a fight you should see it through right to the end,” said Michael Heath, an analyst at Aton Capital Group in Moscow. “The new charges against Khodorkovsky and the $2.2 billion in damages against Yukos are designed to ensure his opponent does not get back up off the mat.”
Yukos’s shares fell 7.6 percent to 14.70 rubles in Moscow, cutting the company’s market value to about $1.2 billion. The shares have lost 97 percent of their value from a high of 483.90 rubles before Khodorkovsky’s arrest in October 2003.