(Adds Rosneft comments)
MOSCOW, March 18 (Reuters) - Rosneft has not decided to launch a huge rouble bond issue to refinance its foreign debts, Russia’s top oil producer said on Tuesday, playing down a newspaper report that said it was looking into a 2.4 trillion rouble ($66 billion) bond issue.
The Kommersant newspaper earlier quoted sources familiar with the situation as saying Rosneft may be preparing to repay foreign debts to protect itself against possible western sanctions over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.
Rosneft said no such decision had been taken.
“The publication is using unverified information and treats non-existent decisions as fact,” Rosneft told Reuters.
Kommersant said Rosneft planned to register 11 issues of bonds worth around 220 billion roubles each in the next two weeks. One source told Kommersant that the bonds could be issued “all at once”.
“It is a political decision,” another source told Kommersant.
Rosneft has large debts to international banks after acquiring Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP last year for $55 billion. Its net debt stood at 1.9 trillion roubles as of Dec. 31, 2013. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Jason Bush and Mark Potter)