MOSCOW, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, has asked the government to provide Rosneft with 1.5 trillion roubles ($41.6 billion) to help the company weather western sanctions, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday.
Under the plan, the state would spend money from its National Wealth Fund to buy Rosneft bonds, the paper reported, citing government sources and a letter from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asking officials to analyse the idea.
Vedomosti said that Sechin had called for the aid as a response to western sanctions. The United States has banned credits and loans to Rosneft with a maturity longer than 90 days, and European banks and investors have de facto joined the sanctions, the paper reported.
Rosneft has net debt of $44.5 billion, mainly arising from its $54 billion acquisition of oil company TNK-BP in 2013, the paper noted.
There are insufficient funds in the National Wealth Fund to finance the injection, Vedomosti said, as much of the 3.1 trillion ($86 billion) fund has already been assigned to other projects.
An anonymous official cited by the paper called Sechin’s plan “horrible”, and another government source told the paper that Medvedev was unlikely to back it.
Rosneft declined to comment to Reuters.
Reporting By Jason Bush