Business in Brief

GM Plant to Shorten Week

General Motors is planning to halt assembly lines and shorten workweeks at its new Russian car plant in the coming months partly because of a sharp drop in demand, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

The first suspension from Dec. 20 to Jan. 11 will be used to make necessary repairs at the plant, GM spokeswoman Maria Alexandrova said.

The second halt will take place from Jan. 26 to Feb. 15 and has been prompted by the situation on the market, Alexandrova said. (Reuters)

Olimpstroi Helps Out Banks

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is overseeing preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, said Monday that state corporation Olimpstroi would place 20 billion rubles ($720 million) of free funds in Russian banks.

The deposits "will be made on the condition that 50 percent of the money be offered to Russian-registered companies working in priority sectors of the Russian economy," Kozak said, Interfax reported. The average interest rate would be 13.18 percent, he said.

Kozak also denied media reports that the government was considering replacing Olimpstroi head Viktor Kolodyazhny and Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachev. (MT)

CNPC's Loan to Rosneft

CNPC and Rosneft have agreed on the primary terms of a $15 billion loan as well as the price Russia would charge China for gas supplies, Interfax reported Monday, citing a source in the Russian company.

The sides signed a memorandum on cooperation in Moscow in October under which Rosneft could receive a loan of around $15 billion in exchange for a new long-term deal to supply oil to China. The Rosneft source said "the Chinese side has agreed to our formula" but that technical aspects were still under discussion. (MT)

Rosneft to Seek $1.5Bln

Rosneft may seek as much as $1.5 billion in loans from a group of banks in the first quarter of next year, vice president Sergei Makarov said Monday.

The state-run oil company may also ask Vneshekonombank, the government bank distributing bailout funds, for as much as $4 billion early next year, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified Rosneft official. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil to Drill Off Ghana

LUKoil and U.S. explorer Vanco Energy may spend as much as $60 million drilling off Ghana next year, even as LUKoil delays international projects elsewhere.

The Aban Abraham vessel is "conducting sea trials" after being fitted for deepwater drilling at Singapore's Sembawang port, Vanco's Vice President Jeffrey Mitchell said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's Algeria Plans

Gazprom plans to spend $120 million on exploring for hydrocarbons in Algeria as it expands in North Africa.

Gazprom was awarded the onshore El Assel field in Algeria on Dec. 13, it said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Russia to Save Credits

Ukraine and Russia plan to stockpile credits to release greenhouse gases jointly valued at $89 billion, saving them for use by their factories, power plants and home heaters under a new global-warming treaty taking effect in 2013. (Bloomberg)