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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom, BASF Plans

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) --Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, said a joint venture with Germany's BASF AG has enough gas reserves to meet Western Europe's needs for three years.

The companies plan to develop the Urengoi field in Siberia, which holds 1.6 trillion cubic meters of recoverable gas reserves, Gazprom said in a statement. Gazprom and BASF announced the venture last month and are due to sign the formal agreements Thursday in Moscow.

The new venture plans to produce 118 billion cubic meters of gas at the Urengoi field, selling 70 percent of it domestically and exporting the rest, Gazprom said in a statement last month.

The venture will develop gas deposits known as Achimovsky layers, Gazprom said in the statement.

Ruble Nears 30.50

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The ruble recovered some of its losses against the dollar Wednesday, but dealers said the sliding prices of Russian equities and bonds made investment in the U.S. currency increasingly attractive.

Rubles for delivery on Thursday gained to 30.4951/30.5025 by 2:35 p.m. after the Central Bank sold the market more than $500 million during the previous session to halt the slide of the local currency.

The ruble has been gaining steadily since the start of the year thanks to Russia's strong balance of payments but it has taken a battering over the past few sessions as legal action against oil major Yukos made local firms reluctant to repatriate dollars.

Khan on Slavneft Board

MOSCOW (MT) -- Slavneft's board of directors has elected German Khan, executive director of Tyumen Oil Co., or TNK, as chairman of the company's board, Prime-Tass reported Wednesday.

Ten directors sit on the oil major's board; five represent TNK and five of them represent Sibneft.

Last year Sibneft and TNK bought Slavneft. In March, the companies reached a preliminary agreement to equally split the assets they own in Slavneft, Prime-Tass reported.

Kiev in Plane Spat

KIEV (AP) -- Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has recommended temporarily suspending all flights of state-owned aircraft to the United States, France and Belgium after authorities impounded a Ukrainian plane in connection with a lawsuit, an official said Wednesday.

The ministry's recommendation came after Canadian authorities detained an An-124-100 cargo aircraft last month citing a Stockholm Arbitration Court ruling last year against Ukraine's State Property Fund, ministry spokesman Markian Lubkivskyi told reporters.

The court ordered the fund to pay Cyprus-based TMR Energy Ltd. some $60 million, Itar-Tass reported.

Shipping Fuel to Iran

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Russia plans to ship Iran 5,500 tons of nuclear fuel by cargo plane for use in Iran's first atomic reactor, Prime-Tass reported, citing Nuclear Power Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.

"The fuel is kept in the storage of the Novosibirsk Plant for Chemical Concentrates,'' he said, Itar-Tass reported. "The first 11 fuel cells, of 500 kilograms each, will be delivered to Iran by a cargo plane after the signing of the Russian-Iranian protocol on the return of spent nuclear fuel to Russia.''

SOCAR Tenders

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Bloomberg) -- The State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, or SOCAR, issued two tenders for the sale of Azeri crude oil to be loaded next month, a company official in Baku said.

One tender is for 1 million barrels of Azeri Light crude oil, to be loaded at the Georgian port of Supsa, said the official, who asked not to be identified. The other tender is for 140,000 tons of crude oil to be loaded at Novorossiisk, Russia's largest oil port. Both ports are on the Black Sea.

The winners will be decided next week, the official said. SOCAR owns 10 percent of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field, which is operated by BP PLC, Europe's second-biggest oil company.

Economist Becker Dies

LOS ANGELES (LAT) -- Abraham Becker, a Rand Corp. economist who advised the CIA on military spending in the former Soviet Union and was known for his thorough understanding of the complexities of the Soviet economy during the Cold War, died of leukemia July 5 in Los Angeles. He was 76.

He was best known for his work suggesting that the Soviet Union's hefty military spending would lead to its eventual downfall.

Becker was "a pioneer in developing the national capacity to understand the Soviet economy -- how the Soviets decided to allocate resources and how much of that economy was being spent to maintain Soviet military forces," Rand president James Thomson said.