Chinese conglomerate CEFC will buy a 14.16% stake in Russian oil major Rosneft for $9.1 billion (around Rs 58,000 crore) from a consortium of Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority. The deal will strengthen the energy partnership between Moscow and Beijing, amid increasing tensions with the United States, Reuters reported.

CEFC China Energy’s transaction will allow China, the world’s second largest energy consumer, to boost cooperation with the world’s top oil producer.

The deal comes as the United States imposes a new round of economic sanctions on Russia against its annexation of Crimea and an incursion into east Ukraine in 2014. The sanctions make it difficult for large Western firms such as Glencore to develop partnerships and increase ties with state-owned firms such as Rosneft.

Glencore said in a statement that CEFC will buy shares at a premium of around 16% to the 30-day volume weighted average price of Rosneft shares without naming the price. Glencore and Qatar will use the proceeds to pay down the debt they contracted to buy their initial stake just nine months ago, Bloomberg reported. Glencore and QIA will retain stakes of 0.5% and 4.7% in Rosneft respectively.

Russia tops the list of Chinese crude suppliers where it competes with its arch-rival Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.

In August, Rosneft closed a deal to acquire 49% stake in Indian private refiner Essar Oil.

Opaque deal

The structure of the deal and the speed at which the transaction with CEFC was announced raise questions about why Glencore and Qatar bought the stake last year in the first place, the Bloomberg report said.