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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Oil Deal

MOSCOW (MT) ? Gazprom on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement with Roshelf and state-owned Rosneft to develop the Prirazlomnoye oil field, Gazprom said in a press release.

The agreement proposes putting together a consortium with 50 percent belonging to Gazprom and its subsidiary Roshelf and the other 50 percent going to Rosneft.

With 76.4 million tons of recoverable reserves, the field is Gazprom?s biggest foray into the oil sector to date.

German company Wintershall was a partner in the project before Tuesday, when it announced a one-year moratorium on any further investment.

Aeroflot Swiss Routes

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Aeroflot will add larger planes on routes from Moscow to Switzerland after financial problems grounded Swissair flights worldwide on Oct. 2.

"Considering the interests of air passengers, Aeroflot, starting from Oct. 25 ? intends to replace the Boeing 737-400 on Moscow-Geneva-Moscow flights with an Airbus A310," Aeroflot said in a press release dated Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Russian airline on Thursday was unable to say how much more traffic, either passenger or cargo, it expected to see as a result Swissair?s difficulties.

But she said the A310 had 183 seats versus the Boeing 737?s 131 seats. The spokeswoman added that traditionally Aeroflot served a large number of business class and first class passengers on its flights to Switzerland.

The airlines flies to Zurich and Geneva daily.

Aeroflot has said it was less exposed that Western to the downturn on the global airline business in the wake of the Sept. 11 hijacking attacks on the United States.

Aeroflot is expecting a drop of less than 1 percent in turnover for the year, versus forecasts by the International Air Transport Association of a 6 percent drop in global traffic.

Reserves Up $100M

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Foreign currency and gold reserves inched up to $100 million to $37.9 billion in the week to Sept. 28, the Central Bank said Thursday.

S&P Affirms Rating

LONDON (Reuters) ? International credit-rating agency Standard & Poor?s said Thursday it had affirmed Russia?s single-B ratings and revised the outlook on its long-term issuer credit to positive from stable.

S&P said the positive outlook reflected improvement in Russia?s policy environment, which was sustaining a strong momentum for reform that began in May 2001.

The agency said it was confident the government could reform the judicial system and banking sector in particular, and restructure large enterprises, especially in the energy sector.

"Further support for the ratings and the positive outlook results from Russia?s improved willingness and ample resources to fully service its external debt, both this year and in 2002-2003, unless the global economic environment deteriorates significantly," S&P said.

The agency also said it could upgrade Russia in the coming months if economic reform progressed, while delays in structural refom could put downward pressure on ratings.

Fitch Ups Rating

LONDON (Reuters) ? Credit-rating firm Fitch said Thursday it had upgraded Russia?s long-term foreign currency rating to B+ from B citing a strong economic recovery since its 1998 devaluation and domestic debt default.

It also raised the local currency rating to B from B- and affirmed its B short-term rating, while various series of MinFin dollar bonds were also upgraded. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

Fitch said in a statement that Russia?s recent macroeconomic performance had been amongst the best of major emerging-market sovereigns, estimating that gross domestic product would rise by 60 percent in dollar terms in 2000 and 2001.

It said it expected the country?s current account surplus would be $84 billion at the end of 2001.

Oil Exports Up 7%

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Crude oil exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States rose 7 percent year on year to 91.80 million tons, or 2.76 million barrels per day, in the first eight months of 2001, State Customs Committee data showed Thursday.

Exports of petroleum products to countries outside the CIS rose 8 percent from January to the end of August to 45.75 million tons.

Gas Exports Down

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Natural gas exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States fell 4 percent to 84.5 billion cubic meters a day in January to August 2001, State Customs Committee data showed Thursday.

Copper Export Fall

MOSCOW (MT) ? Russia?s refined-copper exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States fell 10 percent year on year to 396,100 tons in the January to August period, Prime-Tass reported the State Customs Committee as saying Thursday.

Due to a fall in world nickel prices, exports in the January to August period totaled $714.5 million compared with $1.06 billion in 2000.

Aluminum Exports Up

MOSCOW (MT) ? Primary aluminum exports outside the CIS rose 5 percent year on year to 2.05 million tons in the January to August period, Prime-Tass reported the State Customs Committee as saying on Thursday.

Due to a decline in aluminum prices, the value of the exports fell to $2.47 billion in the January to August period compared with $2.86 billion a year ago.

Nickel Exports Drop

MOSCOW (MT) ? Nickel exports outside the CIS fell 4 percent year on year to 115,400 tons in the January to August period, Prime-Tass reported the State Customs Committee as saying Thursday.

Lead, Zinc Halt

YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains (Reuters) ? Russia?s No. 2 copper producer, the Urals Mining and Metals Co., has suspended a project to start zinc and lead output due to weak world copper prices, a company official said Thursday.

"We have frozen the project due to a sharp decrease of the world copper prices and now do not have enough money for [the project?s] implementation," said UMMC?s technical director, Konstantin Plekhanov.

It had intended to use $70 million of its own money to start production of up to 60,000 tons of zinc and 12,000 tons of lead per year.