State Approves $2Bln for Oil Firms, VTB

Vneshekonombank, the state bank distributing bailout funds, said Wednesday that it had approved lending a total of $2 billion to domestic oil companies and VTB.

The bank's board also agreed to extend loans of 17.1 billion rubles ($614 million) to lenders such as Alfa Bank, it said in a statement.

The State Duma in October allotted VEB as much as $50 billion to help companies repay foreign debt amid the liquidity crisis. In the meantime, 30 Russian banks have applied to VEB for a total of 90 billion rubles in subordinated loans.

VEB's board has so far approved $11.8 billion to help refinance foreign loans, according to the statement. The bank would not specify which oil producers would benefit from the $2 billion credit nor how much they would get from the total.

Gazprom Neft has asked VEB for $1.9 billion in refinancing assistance, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified banker. The oil producer has $1.2 billion in loans due in the fourth and first quarters, it said.

Besides Alfa Bank, which will get a loan of 10.2 billion rubles, Nomos Bank will receive 4.9 billion rubles and the Bank of Khanty-Mansiisk 2 billion rubles, VEB said.