MOSCOW (AP) _ A presidential decree lifting restrictions on foreign ownership of Russian oil companies is expected to open the door to major investment by overseas oil companies.

``There will be no restrictions, they can own 100 percent,'' First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said Wednesday, according to the Interfax news agency.

Before the decree signed by President Boris Yeltsin late Tuesday, Russia had imposed a 15 percent limit on foreign ownership of privatized Russian oil companies.

The change comes as the government plans a series of auctions of major oil holdings. Stakes in Eastern Oil Co., Tyumen Oil Co., Rosneft and Lukoil are slated to come up for sale in the next few months.

A number of major international oil companies, including British Petroleum, Exxon and Texaco have expressed interest in bidding in the privatizations or are reported to be considering participating.