Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Yukos, TotalFina JV

MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 2 oil major Yukos said Wednesday that it is holding talks with France's TotalFinaElf on possible joint ventures between the two companies in Russia, the Dow Jones news agency said Wednesday.

Media have recently reported that Yukos is seeking to sell a portion of its equity to TotalFinaElf.

Yukos denied those reports, saying the company hadn't conducted any talks on the sale of Yukos' shares to TotalFinaElf.

TotalFinaElf may unveil its plans to invest in oil exploration and drilling projects later this week, Interfax reported.

Poland Gas Talks

MOSCOW (MT) -- Russia and Poland are likely to reach agreements on Russian gas supplies and transit by mid-February following recent talks between the two countries, Interfax reported industry sources as saying Wednesday.

The talks dealt with increases in the transportation of Russian gas through Belarus and Poland to Germany along the Yamal-Western Europe gas pipeline, the report said.

"This issue will be finally agreed on by the middle of next month," the sources were quoted as saying.

The pipeline exports 17.1 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually to the Russian-German trading house WIEH, which was established about a decade ago. Exports along the pipeline are set to increase to 33 bcm by 2003 after the construction of new compressor stations in Poland.

German Gas Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gazprom and Germany's No. 1 gas company Wintershal agreed to set up a joint venture by the middle of 2002 to develop difficult-to-access resources in the Novy Urengoi field in western Siberia, Itar-Tass reported Gazprom as saying Wednesday.

Gazprom is planning to build a petrochemical plant in Urengoi within two to three years. The plant will make 300,000 tons of polyethylene film annually for export to China.

Insurance Payouts Up

MOSCOW (MT) -- The collection of insurance premiums rose 160 percent year on year to 276 billion rubles ($9.02 billion) in 2001, a slowing in the year-on-year growth rate, Interfax reported the head of the Finance Ministry's insurance watchdog as saying Wednesday.

The insurance premiums collection rose 225 percent year on year in 1999 and 178 percent in 2000, Konstantin Pylov said. Insurance payments exceeded 171 billion rubles last year, up 40 percent from 2000.

"These figures are the preliminary results of companies on the insurance market and the finalized indicators will be known at the beginning of February," Pylov said, adding that there was a delay in calculating the figures because various companies were late in submitting their results to the ministry watchdog.

AvtoVAZ in Uruguay

MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 1 carmaker AvtoVAZ, and Uruguay's Rusia Automotriz SA have concluded a deal on assembling the Niva VAZ-21214 car in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, Prime-Tass reported AvtoVAZ as saying Tuesday.

Niva cars will be assembled at the Oferol car-assembling plant, which also assembles Citroen cars. The Nivas will be equipped with Peugeot engines, AvtoVAZ said in a press release.

Rusia Automotriz is expected to produce and sell 2,500 Niva cars in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay this year.

Oil Cuts to Remain?

LONDON (Reuters) -- OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez said Wednesday that he expected the oil exporting cartel to maintain current output limits at a meeting scheduled for March.

If economic growth recovers in the second half of the year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could raise production modestly, possibly in September, he said.

Faced with a sharp slowdown in demand growth, OPEC decided last month to slash 1.5 million barrels per day from its production quotas from Jan. 1.

Rodriguez said he expected Russia to extend its export limits to the end of the second quarter.

Armenia Gem Supply

YEREVAN, Armenia (MT) -- The Armenian government plans to sign a five-year deal on Russian diamond supplies within the next two weeks, Prime-Tass reported an official with the Armenian Industry and Trade Ministry as saying Wednesday.

Under the draft agreement, Russia will supply 400,000 carats of uncut diamonds per year in 2002-04, and 450,000 carats per year in 2005-06, to be used in jewelry production.

In 2002 Russia will also supply 400,000 carats of diamonds unfit for jewelry production, and will be increasing annual supplies of such diamonds by 100,000 carats each year through 2006.

Arms Plan Signed

MOSCOW (MT) -- President Vladimir Putin has signed a program for arms development until 2010, Itar-Tass reported presidential spokesman Alexei Gromov as saying Wednesday.

No details of the program have been made available.

Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin said the 43-volume document detailed the development of Russian arms and their purchases by the Russian military during the period.

For the Record

Xerox Corp.'s 2001 sales revenue in Russia and the CIS rose 36 percent year on year to $117 million, Prime-Tass reported the head of Xerox's CIS operations as saying Wednesday. (MT)

Russia has paid $129.88 million in interest on 2005 and $190.65 million on 2018 Eurobonds to Citibank, the government's foreign debt agent, Vneshekonombank, said Wednesday. (Reuters)

The government will not hold any more grain intervention tenders this agricultural year as it believes market prices are stable, an Agriculture Ministry official said Wednesday. (Reuters)

 The Russian Sugar Producers Union lobby group has proposed setting a fixed import tariff on raw sugar of 250 euros per ton from 2003, Kommersant quoted the head of the union as saying Wednesday. (Reuters)

The ruble edged down just slightly in key unified trade to a weighted average for today settlement of 30.5596 to the dollar after Tuesday's 30.5572. (Reuters)

Russia harvested 14.5 million tons of sugar beet in 2001, up from 14.1 million in 2000, the State Statistics Committee said Wednesday. (Reuters)

Lithuanian oil concern Mazheikiu Nafta said Wednesday that Transneft would open a representative office in the Baltic country. (Reuters)