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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Sibneft Volatility

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Shares in the sixth-largest oil producer Sibneft shot up Friday on news of a big dividend payout, even though the ex-dividend date passed two weeks ago, and traders were puzzled by the buying spurt.

Sibneft shares at one point stood 15 percent higher, but closed with a gain of just 0.85 percent at $0.4150.

A Western trader said the sharp rises reflected some Western buying and short covering after the company announced a 13 cents interim dividend and a total payout of $612 million — even though the dividend date was Aug. 3.

"Intuitively the stock should move downward. Shares decline after passing the ex-dividend date, but in the case of Sibneft it appears the improved corporate governance perceptions have offset the fact that the dividend date has passed," he said.

Sibneft intends to pay 15 percent of its international standard net profit in dividends over the long-term earnings cycle. The company said the high payout would hedge it against a future earnings drop and enable it to stick to its policy.

Surplus Spending Set

MOSCOW (MT) — The Finance Ministry has started distributing 62 billion rubles ($2.12 billion) in additional budget revenues, Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Golikova said Friday.

The budget provides for spending of 16.2 billion rubles in additional revenues on subsidies to regional and local budgets, 11 billion rubles on national defense, 8 billion rubles on industry, energy and construction, 4.8 billion rubles on law enforcement, 4.4 billion rubles on agriculture, 4.03 billion rubles on social payments and 2.9 billion rubles on education.

CPC Oil Hits Black Sea

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (Reuters) — Crude oil from Kazakhstan’s Tengiz field, delivered through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s new pipeline, has finally reached the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, a Kazakh oil official said Friday.

But a new date for the delayed official opening ceremony of the $2.55 billion multinational project is still up in the air.

"CPC oil has already reached the consortium’s terminal near Novorossiisk," Kainar Kazhumov, CPC project manager at Kazakhstan’s national oil company, Kazakhoil, said by telephone from the Kazakh capital of Astana. "There were certain technical issues to deal with, but finally the crude is there."

Kazhumov declined to say when the opening ceremony, to be attended by the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, might take place.

The final date for loading the first tanker with Kazakh oil at the port of Novorossiisk has been set, Kazakh Commercial TV reported Saturday.

"In the course of joint negotiations representatives of the Russian and Kazakh presidential administrations have set the final date for loading the first tanker with Kazakh oil, namely Sept. 20," the television report said.

"This date is what many are now talking about here in Kazakhoil," said another oil official reached in Astana.

Evans to Visit

MOSCOW (MT) — U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans will visit Russia with an unspecified number of businessmen Oct. 14 to 16, Itar-Tass reported Friday.

The news agency quoted the Commerce Department as saying that the delegation would include business leaders representing small, medium and big companies from key industries such as air and space, farming, automobile, power production, machine building and services.

The U.S. administration is shifting the emphasis of economic relations from the bilateral commission for economic and technological cooperation to direct business-to-government contacts.

Yukos Unit Confident

NEFTEYUGANSK, Western Siberia (Reuters) — The main production unit of No. 2 oil company Yukos said Friday it was confident of boosting output at its huge western Siberian Priobskoye oil field.

Tagirzyan Gilmanov, head of Yukos’s Yuganskneftegaz subsidiary, said his firm as a whole aimed to produce 41 million tons of oil, or 823,000 barrels per day, in 2002, up from an expected 36.3 million tons this year.

Production at the company, located in the Khanty-Mansiisk region, should rise to 44.6 million tons by 2003 with the huge Priobskoye field accounting for a bigger share of production as time progresses.

"By 2005, Priobskoye will account for 34 percent of production," Gilmanov told a news conference.

Priobskoye produced 6.545 million tons of oil this year, representing 10 percent of Yukos’s production. The field is estimated to have proven reserves of around 3 billion barrels.

Yugansk has the license to develop the field’s Northern Territory, which is estimated to hold around 75 percent of the field’s reserves. A Southern Territory, with around 23 percent of reserves, is operated by a joint venture of Sibneft and British firm Sibir Energy PLC.

Yukos has said it is still looking for a foreign partner to help develop the field after BP Amoco pulled out of a joint- venture deal in 1999.

Gilmanov said the company also wants to tap gas from the field, and he hoped that at full capacity it would produce 1.2 billion cubic meters a year. The company is a building a gas pipeline from Priobskoye to a gas-processing plant that belongs to chemicals giant Sibur. The pipeline will be 168 kilometers long, he said.

Yuganskneftegaz is the main production unit of Yukos, which last year produced 49.5 million tons of oil, of which Yukganskneftegaz accounted for 61 percent. Output this year is expected to rise to 58.3 million tons of oil, of which Yugansk will account for 62.3 percent.