Surgutneftegaz Revenue Up As '07 Production Declined

Surgutneftegaz increased its net revenue last year by 15 percent, earning 88.6 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) according to Russian accounting standards, the company said Sunday.

The figure was released after a Surgutneftegaz shareholders meeting last week. At the meeting, chief executive Vladimir Bogdanov refused to identify company owners to shareholders, playing to the company's reputation as one of the country's most secretive oil businesses.

Surgutneftegaz, the country's fourth-largest oil producer, has been naming only nominal shareholders since 2003.

A question about real owners came from minority shareholder Alexei Navalny, who heads an obscure organization called the National Russian Liberation Movement, Vedomosti reported on its web site.

Bogdanov replied that he owned a stake of less than 2.5 percent, which is the amount needed to enable a shareholder to have access to information about other shareholders.

Vedomosti reported last year that Surgutneftegaz executives headed a slew of unrelated firms that had long-term investments in the company. Those investments totaled an amount equivalent to the worth of 73 percent of Surgutneftegaz, Vedomosti found.

Surgutneftegaz also reported that its capital investment in oil production grew by one-third as it was struggling to prevent a major drop in output. It amounted to 86 billion rubles, or almost as much as its profit last year.

Surgutneftegaz produced 64.5 million tons last year, registering a decline of 1.6 percent, the company and analysts said.

Bogdanov said production would be level this year, RBK Daily said Sunday.

Surgutneftegaz also announced Sunday that profit dropped 39 percent in the first quarter of this year from the previous quarter. Net income fell to 19.5 billion rubles from 31.9 billion rubles in the fourth quarter of 2007 in results calculated to Russian accounting standards, the company said in a filing. It did not provide a reason.