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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tyumen Oil Expects to Get U.S. Loan in Late April

Tyumen Oil Co. said Tuesday that it will probably have to wait a while longer than it had hoped before getting its hands on a $513 million U.S. Exim Bank credit program to refurbish its two main properties, the Nizhnevartovskneftegaz production unit and the Ryazan oil refinery.

Tyumen Oil has been promised an answer next month from the U.S. governmental lending institution on $240 million for the refinery, the company's vice president Iosif Bakaleynik said at a news conference.

"The financing for the Ryazan project is all set and all the documentation has been submitted," Bakaleynik said. "The bank has given us the strongest assurance of an answer sometime in April."

He said additional work needed to be done on the Nizhnevartovsk proposal, but that this would be completed in the next two weeks. Tyumen Oil expects to hear about that credit, for $273 million, by the end of June.

The company had previously said it would receive word on the entire credit by the beginning of April, though analysts at the time said that this might be optimistic.

Tyumen Oil also announced it had been given a high credit rating by EA-Rating, a Russian strategic partner of international ratings agency Standard & Poor's. EA-Rating awarded a 44, the company's fifth-highest rating.

EA-Rating's web site lists a company rated at 44 as having "mostly speculative characteristics with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal."

Nevertheless, Tyumen Oil's 44 was the highest rating the agency had handed out, said EA-Rating's general director, Alexei Novikov, who attended the news conference.

EA-Rating's system is similar to Western firms, with the four ratings above Tyumen's being, in descending order, 555, 55, 5 and then 444.

EA-Rating was founded last year to give domestic credit ratings at a time when Russia's sovereign rating was worse than that of a number of its cities and companies, Novikov said.

Tyumen Oil is the first company the young agency has rated and analysts said the rating is hard to judge without knowing what rating Russia's biggest companies like Gazprom or LUKoil would receive.

"In the short term, the arrival of the Exim Bank credit is far more important to [Tyumen Oil] than this rating," said Jim Henderson, oil analyst at MFK Renaissance.