* Rosneft grows trading with partners under sanctions
* Petrocas sees volumes growing since Rosneft bought stake
* Targets markets such as Turkey and Greece
By Olga Yagova and Dmitry Zhdannikov
MOSCOW/LONDON, March 10 A former Russian juice
magnate who has crude terminals and other assets in the Caspian
and Black Sea region says he is expanding cooperation with
Kremlin-controlled Rosneft to help the oil major boost
trading from Turkey to southern Europe.
Rosneft's partnership with David Yakobashvili and his
Petrocas oil products trading and logistics firm is part of
efforts to build new markets as the Russian oil major grapples
with U.S. and EU sanctions imposed in 2014 over Moscow's
activities in Ukraine.
Sanctions have stopped Rosneft, the world's biggest listed
oil company by output, working with Western banks and scuppered
its bid to buy a trading unit from Morgan Stanley.
In response, Rosneft has built ties with global trading
houses Trafigura and Glencore, as well as companies
such as Petrocas that are based closer to home.
"We are pursuing joint strategic interests with Rosneft and
are discussing joint involvement in infrastructure projects in
the south Caucasus and beyond," Yakobashvili told Reuters.
"Petrocas helps (Rosneft) increase margins when selling
refined products and delivering them to end users in Europe and
Turkey," he said in an interview.
Born in the former Soviet Union's republic of Georgia,
Yakobashvili, 60, set up Petrocas in 2008 to supply Georgia and
its neighbours with refined products. The initiative was part of
an effort to diversify away from Russia.
In 2010, Yakobashvili divested from what had been his main
asset, juice and dairy firm Wimm-Bill-Dann. PepsiCo
bought a controlling stake in the company in 2010 in a deal
valuing Wimm-Bill-Dann at more than $5 billion.
Petrocas, which controls oil terminals and gas stations in
the Caucasus and Black Sea area, operated mostly as a logistics
company until Rosneft acquired 49 percent in the firm in 2014
for $144 million.
"Petrocas has become a reliable partner to help solve
logistical tasks in the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus,"
Yakobashvili said, adding it was now seeking to expand trading
operations in more southern European nations.
In 2014, Petrocas sold about 1 million tonnes of oil
products per year. That had grown to 3.5 million tonnes in 2016.
Yakobashvili said this would expand this year as he targets
markets in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Germany.
Petrocas was looking at starting crude oil trading and was
talking to firms in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, he said.
Petrocas, which buys volumes from Rosneft at tenders,
already has contracts with oil firms such as Kazakhstan's
Kazmunaigaz, Austria's OMV, Greek Motor Oil Hellas,
Italy's Saras and France's Total.
Turkey is a key growth market for Petrocas, which plans to
ship 900,000 tonnes of diesel in 2017 to Turkey's Demiroren
Group under a long-term deal.
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Olga Yagova; Editing by Edmund