Russian state oil company Rosneft is closing in on control of privately-held TNK-BP, a report says.
Reuters reports the four Soviet-born tycoons who own half of the firm have agreed to sell, and it's now holding talks with the other owner, BP.
Industry and financial sources painted a picture of a potential three-way deal that could emerge over the coming weeks, the news agency said.
Both the British oil company and the four Soviet-born tycoons could emerge with minority stakes in an enlarged Rosneft as well as billions of dollars in cash, in exchange for a highly profitable company which has been valued at over $US50 billion.
The combined group would dominate Russia's increasingly state-controlled oil industry, and would be producing well over 4 million barrels of oil and gas a day.