Exclusive: Russian state gave up majority share of Rosneft in Venezuela deal - source

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Achinsk refinery owned by Rosneft in Krasnoyarsk Region

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian state has cut its holding in oil giant Rosneft to below a majority stake as part of its deal to buy the group's Venezuelan assets, announced over the weekend, a source familiar with the details told Reuters.

Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, said on Saturday it had sold all its assets in Venezuela to an unnamed company owned by the Russian government.

The group said it would receive in return payment worth 9.6% of Rosneft's equity capital, which would be held by a subsidiary. It did not say who the seller of that stake was.

Before the deal, Russia, via state holding company Rosneftegaz, owned slightly over 50% of Kremlin-controlled Rosneft's capital.

The source said Rosneftegaz had reduced its stake in Rosneft by 9.6% as part of the Venezuela deal, passing the stake to Rosneft as payment for its Venezuela assets. It is still unclear which state entity bought the assets.

"This means that on paper, the state does not have control (over Rosneft) anymore," the source said.

Other Rosneft shareholders include BP, which has a 19.75% stake, and Qatar, via QH Oil Investments LLC, which owns another 18.93%.

Rosneft did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment. A spokesman for the Russian government declined to comment.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Additional reporting by Olesya Astakhova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Jan Harvey)