September 5, 2019 / 8:58 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Surgut's share price spike caused by speculative trading- CEO

(Adds details, quotes, background)

By Olesya Astakhova

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Surgutneftegaz chief executive Vladimir Bogdanov said on Thursday a spike in the company’s shares was due to speculative trading.

Shares in Surgut, Russia’s fourth biggest oil producer, have risen by more than 33% since the close of trading last Friday.

Vedomosti daily reported this week that the traders attributed the rise in the shares to the registration of subsidiary Rion, which could invest the oil company’s vast cash reserves of 3.25 trillion roubles ($49.25 billion).

Bogdanov, asked why Surgut’s shares were rising and whether Rion was established to invest the cash pile, said: “This was speculative trading... This is hopeful thinking of those who want to sell shares, to sell high.”

Surgut’s shares were down by 4% after Bogdanov’s comments.

Bogdanov has run Surgut for 35 years, and little is known about the ownership structure of the company, which is headquartered in the Western Siberia where its key oil producing assets are located.

In 2013, in rare public comments about Surgut’s ownership structure, President Vladimir Putin said that company’s workers owned a large stake in the group.

Surgut is producing 1.22 million barrels of oil per day and has accumulated a cash pile of almost $50 billion. How that money might be spent is a question that has long preoccupied Russia’s oil industry.

$1 = 65.9950 roubles Reporting by Olesya Astakhova Writing by Katya Golubkova, editing by Deepa Babington and Jane Merriman

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