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Putin: No problems for oil company Rosneft

Russian economy tilting toward China as emerging energy partner.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MOSCOW, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Rosneft is in good shape as the nation's economy starts shifting its focus to Asia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

"We inspected the financial status of Rosneft recently and didn't find any problems there whatsoever," he told Russian news agency ITAR-Tass. "[There are] simply no financial problems."

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Western sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's position on crises in Ukraine have damaged the Russian economy. An annual report from the European Commission said the Russian economy was entering a period of stagflation and Russia's currency is trading a historic lows against the U.S. dollar.

Low oil prices for a Russian economy dependent on exports are exacerbating an already problematic situation.

Putin said oil company Rosneft is moving closer to its Chinese counterparts. For Russia as a whole, the president said he was making arrangements to sell oil using the Chinese currency. In turn, Chinese partners may issue loans to support bilateral activity.

Rosneft is the target of Western economic sanctions. Igor Sechin, its chief executive officer, is also the target of punitive economic measures.

Sechin in August asked the Kremlin to use a national welfare fund to support its growing debt.

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"If I were a Rosneft CEO, I would request money, too. Why not? Who doesn't ask for it now? Everyone's asking for money and hoping to get it," Putin said.

Rosneft's total production, meanwhile, is down to its lowest level in more than a year.

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