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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ruble at 18-Month Low

The ruble fell below 28.84 to the dollar on Tuesday, its lowest since October 2004, as the U.S. currency surged to a two-year high against the euro, dealers said.

Rubles for "tomorrow" delivery fell 0.3 percent to 28.8501 in early trade Tuesday on Moscow's MICEX exchange, but the ruble was 0.4 percent stronger against the euro. (Reuters)

September Refining

Refining runs rose to an all-time high of 4.25 million barrels per day in September as oil firms kept more crude at home, due to very high export duties, but sent more refined products abroad.

Industry and Energy Ministry data on Tuesday showed exports of gasoline, gas oil and jet kerosene all rose in September month on month, while fuel oil shipments abroad were flat but still at a healthy 65 percent of total output.

The data showed oil processing stood at 4.25 million bpd in September, compared with the previous high of 4.21 million bpd in August, in a sign refineries have reached capacity and would find it difficult to increase runs further. (Reuters)

Gazprom 2006 Forecasts

Gazprom expects revenues of around 1.7 trillion rubles ($59.54 billion) in 2006, although it will cut costs and increase investment, it said in a statement of preliminary forecasts on Tuesday.

Gazprom said it planned to produce 548 billion cubic meters of gas in 2006, slightly above this year's forecast of 547 billion cubic meters.

Costs were expected to come down by 11 billion rubles, 10.2 billion rubles and 9.8 billion rubles in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. Borrowing would be around 90 billion rubles per year for the three years, it said. Gazprom said the figures did not include Sibneft, which it is in the process of buying. (Reuters)

Gazprom Monopoly Fines

LONDON -- Gazprom and some of its units may be fined by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service because the group "maintained a monopoly-high price" for its liquefied petroleum gas.

Gazprom; its petrochemical unit, Sibur; and two more companies that market liquefied petroleum gas violated the law, which limits monopoly operations, the service said Tuesday in a statement on its web site. The authorities plan to fine the companies but did not say how much. (Bloomberg)

Rosneft IPO Worth $15Bln

Rosneft expects to receive between $10 billion and $15 billion from its initial public offering, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation.

Deloitte & Touche made a "corresponding forecast" in a report valuing the oil company and its units, the news agency said.

Rosneftegaz, the oil company's only shareholder, will use about $7.5 billion of the revenue from the IPO to repay a loan given for the purchase of a 10.7 percent stake in Gazprom, Interfax said. Rosneft spokesman Vladimir Voyevoda did not answer reporters' calls. (Bloomberg)

Sibneft Refinery Decision

Oil firm Sibneft claimed control of one of Russia's largest refineries together with its partner Tatneft on Tuesday, citing a favorable court decision.

A Sibneft spokesman said that Sibneft's and Tatneft's combined stakes in the Moscow refinery had risen to 56 percent of voting shares from less than 50 percent following a court decision to ban the refinery from paying dividends on preferred shares out of 2004 results.

Under Russian law, preferred shares become voting shares if dividends are not paid. The ruling could be a blow for Sibir Energy, which has a 45 percent interest in the Moscow Oil & Gas Company. MOGC, which has had control of the plant up to now, is majority owned by the city of Moscow. (Reuters)

IPO Law Falls Flat

Amendments to a draft law on share offerings, which sought to limit the sale of shares in Russian companies on foreign bourses, were withdrawn Tuesday, an official said. The amendments infringed on international law and had little legal chance of passing, said Oleg Ivanov, executive secretary of the expert council of the State Duma Committee for Credit Organizations and Financial Markets.

They served the purpose of conveying the authorities' views on foreign share offerings by Russian companies, he said. The committee, which drafted the amendments, will continue to work on "controlling the situation in better-formed legislation," Ivanov said. (MT)

For the Record

Oil producer Tatneft said net profit in the first nine months of the year rose by 53 percent to 29.5 billion rubles ($1 billion) as surging oil prices boosted sales. (Bloomberg)

Oil firm Tatneft said Tuesday that it would further delay the publication of its 2004 financial report until next year, which may revive fears the firm will be delisted from the NYSE. (Reuters)

TNK-BP is ready to buy Mazeikiu and invest $300 million to improve the Lithuanian company, Interfax reported, citing TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley. (Bloomberg)

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien's exploration company may secure rights to develop oil and gas fields in Turkmenistan, which is seeking foreign investment to drill on its deep-water shelf in the Caspian Sea. (Bloomberg)

Phosphorus fertilizer producer FosAgro said Tuesday that it planned to build three refineries to produce at least 0.6 million tons per year of alumina, an intermediate product for aluminum smelting. (Reuters)

Russian Railways increased oil shipments to China by 31 percent in the first 10 months of the year to help meet growing demand from the world's most populous nation. (Bloomberg)

Citigroup plans to expand its presence in Russia by opening more branches across the country, chief executive officer Charles Prince said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Ericsson has signed a deal to supply independent fixed-line company Golden Telecom with equipment for long-distance calls, the firms said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

German investors may spend as much as 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to develop agricultural projects in the Voronezh region, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported, citing Voronezh Governor Vladimir Kulakov. (Bloomberg)

Scientists were counting down Tuesday for the blast off of a Russian booster rocket carrying a European-built probe aimed at exploring the hot, dense atmosphere around Venus. (AP)

Regional utility Mosenergo posted a January to September net profit of 1.1 billion rubles ($38.15 million) and revenues of 53.1 billion rubles, company documents showed Tuesday. (Reuters)

Norilsk Nickel lowered its cobalt reference price on its web site, reflecting its market outlook. (Reuters)