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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ukraine Bypass Mulled

The Moscow Times

An international consortium has signed a letter of intent agreeing to analyze the possible routes along which a gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine could be built.

The consortium — consisting of Gazprom, Gaz de France, Italian Snam and the German companies Ruhrgas and Wintershall — is discussing three routes: from Brest, Belarus, to Velke Kapusany, Slovakia; from Brest through Yaslo, Poland, and Chisna, Slovakia, to Velke Kapusany; and Brest through Krakow, Poland, to Chadtsa, Slovakia.

Consortium members prefer the first route because it is the shortest and most economically feasible. However, because the pipeline would run through Polish national parks, the Polish government is opposed. Feasibility studies for all routes are set to be completed by mid-April.

Fish Quotas Net $39M

the Moscow Times

The government earned $38.8 million in three auctions last week on seafood quotas in Russia's north and east.

Foreign companies were allowed to participate for the first time in the third auction Friday, when 19 fishing companies from South Korea, Japan and Poland placed bids for quotas to catch herring and pollack. Another 34 domestic companies took part.

The government is planning to earn $202 million in 15 auctions scheduled for this year. Two quota auctions held in February brought in $9.2 million.

Greek Pipeline Plans

The Moscow Times

Russia, Greece and Bulgaria are planning to construct an oil pipeline from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandropulos in Greece that would pump Caspian oil from the Russian port of Novorossiisk, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

"Trilateral contacts are constantly going on and we hope to create the TransBalkan Oil Co. in the near future," Greek Ambassador in Moscow Dimitrios Kipreos told the news agency.

The pipeline would allow Russia to export Caspian oil bypassing the Bosphorus. On Monday, a pipeline linking the giant Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan with Novorossiisk was started.

CPC Opens Pipe

The Associated Press

ALMATY, Kazakstan — Russian and Kazakh officials Monday began pumping crude oil down the first major pipeline to be built in the Caspian Sea region in a decade.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and his Kazakh counterpart took part in the opening ceremony for the pipe, which runs from Kazakstan's Tengiz field to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, Interfax reported.

For at least three months, operators will pump a test flow of about 70,000 barrels per day. The crude will reach Novorossiisk only at the end of June, when the first tanker will be loaded. The pipeline will have a capacity of 600,000 bpd upon completion.

The pipe is owned by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium — which consists of the governments of Kazakhstan, Oman and Russia and eight oil companies including Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and Kerr McGee.

Report: GDP to Slow


Gross domestic product growth may slow to 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year from 8.4 percent in the same period last year, official figures published Monday showed.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said in a report that growth was losing impetus, echoing remarks by presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov in Monday's Financial Times.

However, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said there is no reason to revise parameters of the federal budget, including the projected 4 percent GDP growth, Itar-Tass reported. It is still too early to make judgements on the economic situation this year, Gref said.

Russia to Pay IMF


The Finance Ministry has reserved 27.69 million euros (19.47 million Special Drawing Rights) for a payment to the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, a Finance Ministry spokeswoman said Monday.

The next payment to the IMF, also of 19.47 million SDRs, is due April 10.

The spokeswoman also said Russia would pay interest on three Eurobonds on Friday.

"According to the original schedule, the payments are due March 31, 2001, but this is a weekend, that is why the payment will be made earlier," she said.

The Eurobonds due for coupon payments include the 2005 bond, with a 117.19 million mark payment; the 2010 bond, with a $105.39 million interest payment; and the 2030 bond, with a $229.48 million payment.

Border Post Cut Off

The Associated Press

HELSINKI, Finland — Russia closed a northern border post Monday after suppliers on Finland's side cut electricity because of unpaid bills, the Finnish Frontier Guard said.

The Salla border crossing in Lapland, 1,000 kilometers north of the capital, Helsinki, was closed at 7 a.m. on the Russian side until further notice, said Major Antti Varrio.

"We received a telefax from the Russians saying they had closed the border until they could connect to an alternative power supply," Varrio said.

"It's most unusual because according to a Finnish-Russian accord both sides must agree before a border crossing can be closed."

Since the Salla crossing was opened in 1990, Finns have supplied electricity to the border post. But the Russians have failed to pay their bills and the Finns cut off the power supply to the border post Saturday after giving more than a month's warning.

Salla Mayor Kari Vayrynen estimates that Russia owes up to 200,000 markkaa ($30,000) in unpaid electricity bills but said they will not demand full payment.

MT Index Stagnant


Russia indices closed up on pitifully thin volume Monday, with speculative support for liquid shares in a market waiting to see if a global recovery persists, traders said.

The dollar-denominated Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares closed up .51 percent at 144.95 on volume of $7.4 million, while the RTS index closed up 0.79 percent at 175.38 on volumes of $9.27 million.

"Look at the volume on the RTS. Global markets are raging and Russia is just not participating," said Brunswick UBS Warburg trader Loren Bough.

Minor speculative demand drove up a few shares. Bellwether Unified Energy Systems, led in volumes, gaining 1.74 percent to close at $0.1053, while Norilsk Nickel led the day's gains, adding 3.45 percent to close at $12.