MOSCOW, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Russia's insular oil industry is evidently opening its doors in light of negotiations to sell a major stake in its biggest oil company to a U.S. firm.
The Houston Chronicle said Tuesday a deal with either of the two reported suitors -- Exxon Mobil or ChevronTexaco -- would go a long way toward allowing the company, Yukos-Sibneft, to compete on equal footing with the world's supermajor oil companies.
Neither Exxon nor ChevronTexaco will confirm they are in talks, although officials of Exxon Mobil have spoken publicly about the potential benefits they see in partnerships between U.S. and Russian energy companies.
The odds of the sale taking place are considered increasingly better because little to no opposition has arisen among Russian political leaders.
"If it happens, we are coming to a new level of sophistication in the Russian oil industry," said Amy Jaffe, a senior policy analyst with Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. "We are testing the edges to see how stable the climate is."