CEFC China Energy is in talks to invest in Russia’s state-controlled oil company Rosneft, in what would be a sign of strengthening economic co-operation between Moscow and Beijing even as relations with the US deteriorate. CEFC, a private conglomerate with interests in the energy and financial services industries, has been negotiating a deal to invest in the world’s largest publicly listed oil producer that could be announced as soon as this week, according to four people with knowledge of the talks. If agreed, the complex agreement would mark a growing corporate relationship between China and Russia that has focused on cross-border energy deals. This has strengthened this year against the backdrop of increasingly acrimonious ties between Moscow and the west, involving sanctions levied against big Russian companies including Rosneft. “Rosneft sees this as a good idea for both strategic and simple business reasons. With the current tensions with the US, they can use it to show that there are other places to find friends. And it shows pragmatism in terms of taking the money where it is available,” said one of the people, who was not permitted to speak to the media. As part of the talks, CEFC is in discussions with independent Russian oil company NNK, headed by former Rosneft chief executive Eduard Khudainatov, to form a joint venture related to the investment, three of the people told the FT on condition of anonymity.