Business in Brief

Exxon in Sakhalin Gas Talks

SINGAPORE -- ExxonMobil and Gazprom are in talks to swap natural gas from the Sakhalin-1 project in the country's Far East with the Shtokman project in the Atlantic basin, World Gas Intelligence said Wednesday, citing unidentified Russian sources.

Exxon would receive the Shtokman gas for its proposed BlueOcean liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of New Jersey, while Gazprom would buy all the gas from Sakhalin-1, the publication said. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft Not Planning Sale

Rosneft has "no plans currently" to sell additional shares to the market, vice president for finance Peter O'Brien said on Bloomberg Television Wednesday.

The company may sell some "smaller" assets to reduce its $27.8 billion in debt and is exploring options for refinancing loans, O'Brien said.

Rosneft chief executive Sergei Bogdanchikov said in December that the company could sell $3 billion worth of shares, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft, Renova Make Bids

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rosneft and billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Holding are competing for control of the government's 56 percent stake in Slantsy, a processing plant for secondary petroleum products near St. Petersburg.

"It's very hard to say who will get the shares. Both companies are interesting to us," Valery Serdyukov, governor of the Leningrad region, said in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Signs Auto Deal

LUKoil agreed to supply motor oil to factories run by carmaker Severstal-Avto, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The two companies signed an agreement on strategic cooperation, LUKoil said. Automobiles built by Severstal-Avto will also be first serviced with LUKoil brand motor oil, LUKoil said. (Bloomberg)

Tatneft's Oil Output Up

Tatneft said it increased oil output by 1.3 percent last year, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Production rose to 25.74 million tons for the year, or about 515,000 barrels per day, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Evraz's Q4 Output Up 21%

LONDON -- Evraz Group's fourth quarter pig-iron output rose 21 percent from the previous quarter to 3.3 million tons, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

Output of crude steel in the fourth quarter rose 15 percent to 4.2 million tons, while rolled products grew 16 percent to 4.02 million tons, the company said. Production of tubular products rose to 133,000 tons, 7 percent higher than in the third quarter, while output of railway products in the quarter rose 10 percent to 621,000 tons. (Bloomberg)

Pipe Sales Rise 10%

Chelyabinsk Pipe Works and Pervouralsky Novotrubny Works, the Russian pipe producers controlled by billionaire Andrei Komarov's ChTPZ Group, increased sales 10 percent in 2007 on supplies to Russian energy companies.

Chelyabinsk and Pervouralsky shipped 1.9 million tons of pipes and pipe products last year, ChTPZ said in a statement Wednesday. Sales of large-diameter pipes used in the oil and gas industry rose 16 percent to 593,400 tons in the first 11 months, the statement said. (Bloomberg)

UralChem Signs Deal

United Chemical UralChem, a fertilizer producer, signed an accord with Gazprom and Novatek on natural gas supplies through 2012, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

UralChem will buy more than 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Gazprom in 2008 and 2009, the company said. Novatek will supply 525 million cubic meters this year, and double the amount in 2009, the company said. It did not give the financial terms or details of supplies after 2009. (Bloomberg)

New Car Sales to Rise 13%,

New car sales will probably rise 13 percent this year, with annual deliveries gaining by one-third over the next seven years, an industry group said Wednesday.

Car sales in the country will increase to 2.6 million vehicles from 2.3 million in 2007, Oskar Akhmedov, head of Volkswagen's local unit, said at an Association of European Businesses in Russia news conference. Russians will probably buy 3.5 million cars per year by 2015, he said. (Bloomberg)

VimpelCom's Loan

VimpelCom received a $1.5 billion loan, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified person.

VimpelCom is also looking for a syndicated $2 billion loan that will carry interest at the London interbank offered rate plus an additional 1.5 percent a year, the news agency said. (Bloomberg)

Comstar Broadband Soars

Comstar United Telesystems, billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's telecommunications company, said Wednesday that it almost doubled the number of its broadband Internet subscribers in Moscow last year.

Comstar counted 695,000 broadband users by the end of last year, the company said. The number of pay-television subscribers increased 36,100 to 119,400 over the period. (Bloomberg)

Gallery Plans to Delay IPO

Gallery, the country's second-largest outdoor advertiser, may "slightly postpone" an initial public offering planned for this fall, chief executive Sergei Abramov said, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Gallery owns more than 43,000 billboards and other outdoor advertising displays in Russia. It is the main competitor to Rupert Murdoch's News Outdoor advertising company in the former Soviet republics, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

LSR Group to Appoint CEO

ST. PETERSBURG -- LSR Group, a St. Petersburg-based property developer, will reappoint Yury Molchanov as chief executive, a position he held until last March, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing the company's general director.

Molchanov left to join the Health and Social Development Ministry, the newspaper said. Molchanov's return will send a positive signal to shareholders, the newspaper said, citing three local analysts from real estate research companies, Sergei Fedorov, Mikhail Zvyagin and Dmitry Sirotkin. (Bloomberg)

SU-155 Group, Lone Bidder

ST. PETERSBURG -- SU-155 Group is the only candidate in an 18.7 billion ruble ($770 million) competition to build a residential block in southwest St. Petersburg, Kommersant reported Wednesday, citing city planners.

The project includes a total of 421,000 square meters of housing, to be built by the middle of 2010, the newspaper said, citing unidentified officials from city committees responsible for construction and development.(Bloomberg)