Business in Brief

Raspadskaya Profit Doubles



Raspadskaya, the country's largest coking coal miner, more than doubled net profit last year after mining a record amount of coal and cutting costs despite inflation, the company said Friday.

Raspadskaya, part owned by steelmaker Evraz Group, expects strong coal prices to boost profits further this year from the $240 million in 2007. (Reuters)




Gazprom Neft's Output Plan



Gazprom Neft, the country's second-biggest state-run oil producer, said Friday that it planned to double crude output to 100 million tons per year by 2020, more than previously forecast, as it gains fields from its parent company.

Gazprom Neft will seek new deposits to meet the target, spokeswoman Natalya Vyalkina said. Gazprom is "slowly" transferring its oil fields to the unit, she said. "It's a long process." (Bloomberg)




Putin Orders Georgian Talks



President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered his government to hold talks with Georgia on lifting a 1 1/2-year embargo on Georgian goods.

Putin said postal links with Georgia would be restored in the next few days and told his government to take steps to remove remaining visa restrictions on Georgian citizens, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. (Bloomberg)




Embargo Cost 1.1% of GDP



TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze said Friday that the benefit of exports to Russia has been "overstated."

"Georgia only lost 1.1 percent of GDP as a result of the embargo at a time when the economy is growing 10 to 12 percent a year," Gurgenidze said. "That's not fatal." (Bloomberg)




Exchange to Open in June



ST. PETERSBURG -- Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Friday that the proposed commodities exchange in St. Petersburg would open in June during the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The bourse will trade ruble-denominated contracts in oil products, with plans to expand into metals, crude oil, building materials and agricultural products, Zubkov said. (Bloomberg)




Oil Tax to Be Settled by July



The government will probably reach a final decision on cutting taxes for oil companies by July to help revive output growth in the world's biggest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia, an Industry and Energy Ministry official said Friday.

"The size of the reduction must correspond to the objective needs of the oil companies," the official said Friday, declining to be identified, citing ministry policy. (Bloomberg)




$2.6 Trillion Offshore Cost



Russia needs 61 trillion rubles ($2.6 trillion) of investment to develop offshore oil and gas deposits, Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov said Friday.

Exploration alone of offshore regions until 2050 will cost 16 trillion rubles and production 45 trillion rubles more, Bogdanchikov said. (Bloomberg)




For the Record



Pipemaker TMK said Friday that it shipped 8 percent less in the first quarter compared with one year earlier. (Bloomberg)

Chevron's Kazakh venture, TengizChevroil, objected Friday to a new $310 million environmental fine related to sulfur stockpiles, after paying a similar amount last year to avoid additional charges. (Bloomberg)