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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

LUKoil Eyes Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (Reuters) -- Romania opened the bidding for control of its national oil company SNP Petrom on Tuesday, hoping to cash in on a wave of lucrative deals sweeping the sector in Central and Eastern Europe.

The long-delayed sale of a controlling stake in Petrom to a strategic investor or a consortium is expected to be worth up to $1 billion and is a key element of the formerly communist Balkan country's accords with international lenders.

Potential bidders for Petrom, which has around 60 percent of the domestic market, could include U.S. giant Chevron Texaco, BP, France's Total or Royal Dutch/Shell, according to Romanian ministry officials.

Three companies which have been most active in the region -- MOL, Austria's OMV and LUKoil -- may form a consortium to come up with the funds for the deal, analysts said.

Kiev Gas Consortium?

KIEV (AP) -- Russia and Ukraine agreed Tuesday to postpone their decision on how to structure a fledgling gas consortium to upgrade Ukraine's ailing pipeline network that both sides had pledged would be ready by September, officials said.

The decision to delay finalizing the business plan until Dec. 1 came at a meeting of the consortium's board in Kiev, according to a statement by Naftohaz, Ukraine's state natural gas company.

Officials agreed to the delay to allow more time to consult with experts on whether concessionary terms offered the most effective business model.

Earlier, Germany had proposed running the pipeline on a concessionary arrangement, but Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma opposed ceding operational control of his country's gas pipelines to the consortium.

The board said Tuesday that concessionary terms were still on the table.

They also discussed extending Ukraine's pipeline from the eastern city of Novopskov to Uzhhorod near the Hungarian border to handle potentially bigger supplies from Kazakhstan.

Ukraine relies on the pipeline for billions of dollars in transit fees and Russia relies on the network to transport some 90 percent of its gas supplies to Europe.

Conoco Execs to Yukos

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Oil major Yukos said Wednesday that it had hired two executives for oil production and information technologies, both previously with No. 3 U.S. oil firm ConocoPhillips.

Yukos said in a statement that Steven Michael Theede, former president for oil exploration and production for Conoco in Europe, Russia and the Caspian Sea, would become first vice president for operating activities in Yukos-Moscow.

Yukos-Moscow is a company which operates the oil giant.

It also said Thomas Wayne Nicewarner, previously chief information officer in Conoco, would become vice president for information technologies for Yukos-Moscow.

Domestic oil and metal firms are actively hiring staff from their Western peers as they seek to improve their corporate governance to raise their profile and boost market value.