LUKOIL (Pink Sheets: LUKOY.PK) wants out of Russia.
As described last month, the Russian oil major is contributing mightily (if not happily) to Russia's tax coffers, forking over $8 billion in taxes over the past six months. The bulk of that comes not from simple taxes on profits but from "special" taxes imposed on the company's oil and gas revenues. Although the company has a close relationship with the Kremlin, it's clearly not getting any favors from the Tax Service.
In response, LUKOIL has been actively seeking to expand its business -- just not in Russia. The company has gone on a buying spree in the U.S., collecting about 2,100 U.S. gas stations through which to sell its products. It's also reportedly cooperating with partner and part owner ConocoPhillips
(Why is the Aug. 21 price significant? Because on Aug. 22, China National agreed to buy PetroKazakhstan
In a Bloomberg story on LUKOIL's acquisition, Hermitage Capital Management manager William Browder observed that LUKOIL got a steal of a deal on Nelson despite the post-Aug. 21 run-up. Browder noted that LUKOIL is paying about $7.41 per barrel of proven reserves at Nelson, vs. China National's $10.70-per-barrel price for PetroKazakhstan's reserves. Nelson controls its oil reserves through its 50% interest in Kazakh oil company Kazakhoil Aktobe and a 76% interest in Chaparral Resources.
For comparison, ConocoPhillips controls 7.61 billion barrels of oil equivalent and is valued at about $12.79 per barrel. BP
More on LUKOIL's foreign ambitions:
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares in any company mentioned above.