Glencore in huge Russian oil deal

Swiss commodities giant Glencore (LON: GLEN) is reported to be near a debt-for-equity deal with Russneft, one of Russian ten largest oil producers, to gain a 49% stake.

Russneft and Glencore have been in business since the early 2000s when Glencore backed Mikhail Gutseriev, the billionaire founder of the oil producer, after he fell out with Kremlin.

Russneft subsidiaries owe Glencore in the region of $980 million. At 360,000 barrels a day, Russneft is on par with Bashneft, a listed producer which has a market capitalization of $6 billion in Moscow, meaning the deal could net Glencore a tidy paper profit.

While the EU and the US has slapped sanctions on Russian officials and businesses, Russneft is not affected.

Glencore has been in active in Russia building its oil business and in 2013 signed one of the biggest crude trading deals in history when it together with oil trader Vital agreed to lend state-backed giant Rosneft $10 billion for a guarantee of future supply.