Business in Brief

Sakhalin-1 Output to Drop



ExxonMobil's Sakhalin-1 project may produce 29 percent less oil this year as one of its fields goes into decline and Gazprom holds up the sale of gas from the development, a Rosneft executive said Wednesday.

Production this year may fall as low as 7.9 million tons, from 11.2 million tons in 2007, Lev Brodsky, the head of Rosneft's Sakhalin Projects unit, said Wednesday. Rosneft is Exxon's partner in the project. (Bloomberg)




Chemezov Asks for $500M



Russian Technologies has asked President Vladimir Putin for help to recoup $500 million from the state budget to cover some of the cost of buying titanium giant VSMPO-Avisma, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Kommersant quoted a letter written by Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov to Putin on Dec. 7 asking for budget money to cover some of the $1 billion a predecessor of the group had borrowed to buy control of VSMPO.

"Taking into account the budget revenues and 2007 surplus, it seems reasonable to return the said funds," Chemezov wrote. (Reuters)




Sibir Output Jumped 80%



Sibir Energy, an oil producer owned by billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky and the city of Moscow, said Wednesday that oil output rose 80 percent in 2007 as it boosted production at its Salym project.

Sibir produced 17.8 million barrels of oil last year, compared with 9.9 million barrels in 2006, the company said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Fertilizer Prices May Freeze



Russian fertilizer producers may freeze domestic prices through May as they lobby the government against introducing an export duty, Vedomosti said Wednesday.

The country's largest producers have agreed to lower domestic prices for their fertilizers from 1 percent to 5.6 percent and keep them at this level until June 1, the newspaper said, citing unidentified executives. (Bloomberg)




35-Ton Oil and Gas Spill



ConocoPhillips and LUKoil's venture in northern Russia spilled as much as 35 tons of oil, gas and drilling fluids after a construction accident, the Natural Resources Ministry said Wednesday.

A production well in the Timan-Pechora Basin was damaged Feb. 4 while contractors for the Naryanmarneftegaz venture were drilling a water well at Yuzhno-Khylchuyuskoye, its largest field, the ministry said. (Bloomberg)




Tusk Wants Meat Trade



WARSAW -- Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday that he wanted to see "practical results" of Russia's decision to lift a ban on meat imports from Poland.

"Just signing a document isn't enough," Tusk said in an interview with the Interfax. "Companies must begin to trade with one another. And more needs to be done about this." (Bloomberg)




Veropharm Sales Rise 39%



Veropharm, the drug-making unit of pharmacy chain 36.6, said Wednesday that full-year sales increased 39 percent as higher incomes enabled people to buy more pharmaceutical products.

Sales reached $140 million last year, Veropharm said in a statement, without giving the year-earlier figure. Prescription medicines and adhesive bandages generated the most revenue, the company said. (Bloomberg)




PPF to Raise Nomos Stake



PRAGUE -- PPF Group NV, the financial group of Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, will seek to increase its stake in Russian corporate lender Nomos Bank, PPG spokesman Alexej Bechtin said Wednesday, Hospodarske Noviny newspaper reported.

PPF is scaling down its initial plan to combine businesses of Nomos and Home Credit & Finance Bank, its consumer-credit subsidiary in Russia, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom Neft Production



Gazprom Neft more than replaced the crude it produced last year as it increased exploration and acquired fields, the company said Wednesday.

Gazprom Neft added 148 million tons of reserves not counting acquisitions and 23 million tons by winning licenses at auctions, the producer said in a statement. The reserves are under Russian standards. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom's New LNG Plants



Gazprom plans four liquefied natural gas plants at its Shtokman project in the Arctic Ocean, Herve Madeo, a Total vice president for development, said Wednesday.

Gazprom will build one LNG plant with operating partners Total and StatoilHydro, Madeo said. Gazprom will build the other three plants to boost LNG capacity at the project to 30 million tons, he said. (Bloomberg)




21 Bids for Potash Stash



The government said Wednesday that it received 21 bids from companies including Uralkali to develop 40 percent of the world's untapped potash reserves as prices for the nutrient soar.

The licenses to three sections of the Verkhnekamskoye deposit will be auctioned, the Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency's branch in the Perm region said. (Bloomberg)




Antitrust Request for Mines



ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, applied for anti-monopoly permission in Russia to buy three coal mines from Severstal as rising prices of the fuel prompt the company to seek its own supplies, a spokeswoman for the service said Wednesday.

ArcelorMittal sought approval on Feb. 1, said Irina Romannikova, a spokeswoman for the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



General Yury Baluyevsky has not been renominated to the boards of several defense industry companies, Vedomosti reported Wednesday. (MT)

Scania AB, Sweden's second-largest truck maker, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit rose 48 percent on increasing sales in Russia. (Bloomberg)

Norilsk Nickel said Wednesday that demand for the raw material used in stainless steel was "recovering" after record prices last year deterred purchases. (Bloomberg)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may agree to buy three submarines from Russia during a visit to Moscow later this month or in early March, El Nacional newspaper reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source in the Russian military. (Bloomberg)

United Company RusAl said Wednesday that it started two new potrooms at its Irkutsk smelter in Siberia, increasing overall production capacity by more than 55 percent. (Bloomberg)

RWE AG's Gas Midstream unit head Stefan Judisch said Wednesday that delays in the Nabucco pipeline project were caused by the "decision process" among partners. (Bloomberg)