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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Central Bank Currencies

The Central Bank has raised the share of the euro in the basket against which it targets the ruble and lowered the weight of the dollar.

The Central Bank increased the share of the euro to 0.4 euro from 0.35 euro and cut the share of the dollar to $0.60 from $0.65, it said in a statement Friday. (Bloomberg)

Indian PM Talks Energy

NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia from Sunday to Wednesday will focus on strengthening energy cooperation between the two countries, said Shyam Saran, India's top bureaucrat in the foreign ministry.

India, which had spent $2.7 billion as of March 2005 in the Sakhalin-1 oil fields, wants to participate in the Sakhalin-3 oil project and also bid for oil exploration in Siberia, Saran said.

Indian companies are also looking at buying a stake in Sibneft, Gazprom and Rosneft. "We are also looking at perhaps becoming equity partners in some of the oil majors and gas majors in Russia," he said. Russia has also shown interest in participating in a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India, he said. (Bloomberg, Reuters)

Gazprom Shares Hit Record

Shares of Gazprom rose to a record for the third straight day on optimism Russia would end a ban on foreign ownership in the natural gas company.

Gazprom stock surged 3.75 rubles, or 2.1 percent, to 183.79 rubles ($6.36) on the Russian Trading System. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Exports

Gas monopoly Gazprom expects its average export price to Western Europe to rise by 2 percent to 4 percent next year, Interfax reported.

Vladimir Merkulov, a departmental head with the company's export arm, told a conference call that this year's average price would be around $185 to $190 per 1,000 cubic meters, Interfax reported late Thursday. "Judging from the oil product price estimates we have, a certain decline in gas prices may be expected in the second half of the year. However, during the year as a whole we should evidently expect a slight rise in prices compared to 2005," he was quoted as saying. (AP)

Ukraine Gas Agreement

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said an agreement with Gazprom on gas deliveries and transit shipments to Europe would be reached by the end of this year, Interfax reported.

The negotiations, though complicated, are moving forward, the news agency cited Yushchenko as saying at a news conference Friday in Kiev. Ukraine is resisting Gazprom's demand to more than triple the gas price to at least $160 per 1,000 cubic meters as early as next year. (Bloomberg)

Enriched Uranium Prices

Russia is in negotiations to raise the price of the enriched uranium it supplies to Ukrainian power plants, an industry official close to the talks said on Friday, confirming news reports.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the continuing talks, said that Russia currently bought raw uranium at market prices in Ukraine but sold it back after enrichment at a discount -- costing the Russian industry some $150 million per year. (AP)

November Oil Exports

Oil exports rose in November at their fastest pace for eight months after this year's 34 percent surge in prices encouraged investments in drilling, helping lift crude output to a record.

Crude shipments to Europe jumped 4.4 percent in November to 4.52 million barrels per day, after falling in October for the first month in four, according to data Friday by CDU-TEK, the Energy Ministry's central dispatch unit.

Oil output rose to 9.627 million barrels per day, up by 3,100 barrels from October. (Bloomberg)

Surgut Exports to Statoil

Surgutneftegaz has agreed to ship more crude in 2006 to Statoil, Norway's biggest energy company.

The two companies also discussed cooperation in the development of offshore Russian oil and gas projects, Surgutneftegaz said Friday.

Statoil agreed to buy crude from Surgutneftegaz to expand the product range it offers, the Norwegian company said on Oct. 1. (Bloomberg)

Cutting Sakhalin Costs

LONDON -- BP has urged Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell to set up an oil association on Sakhalin Island in the Far East to cut costs and share infrastructure. Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell will spend at least $35 billion to tap oil and gas on the island.

The government has asked the ventures led by Exxon Mobil and Shell to share pipelines, roads and other infrastructure to cut costs. (Bloomberg)

Nelson Takeover Approved

Nelson Resources, which pumps oil in Kazakhstan, said its owners approved a $2 billion takeover bid from LUKoil that would be the largest-ever foreign acquisition by a Russian company. (Bloomberg)

PetroKazakhstan Fine

PetroKazakhstan, which was recently bought by China National Petroleum Corp. for $4.18 billion, was ordered to pay 96.45 billion tenge ($720 million) to Kazakhstan for abusing its dominant position in the country's fuel market.

A court in Kazakhstan on Nov. 24 ordered the Calgary-based company to pay a fine of 1.47 million tenge and ruled that 96.44 billion tenge in illegally earned revenue should be confiscated, PetroKazakhstan said Friday in a statement. The ruling is due to come into force Monday. PetroKazakhstan plans to appeal. (Bloomberg)

Mosenergo Share Sales

Moscow's regional power utility, Mosenergo, is hoping to issue shares in its spinoff companies following its April breakup under Russia's power sector reforms, its general director Anatoly Kopsov said.

Kopsov told Kommersant that issuing shares in Mosenergo spinoffs "is the simplest option" to lure investment, but did not say which firms were likely to issue stock or when.

Kopsov said Mosenergo's management had already approved the idea. "Soon we will go to UES's management with this proposal," he said. (Reuters)

RusAl Opens Plant

Russian Aluminum looks set to control 70 percent of the CIS aluminum foil market, after it reopened Saturday its second foil-rolling plant, Armenal, after a three-year, $70 million factory renovation, the company said in a statement.

The world's third-largest aluminum producer, RusAl, launched the plant near Yerevan, Armenia, as part of its strategy to develop the metal derivatives businesses and boost foil exports to the United States and Europe.

Armenal will have an annual capacity of 25,000 tons, which will account for 12 percent of the CIS market and 2.5 percent of the global foil market in 2006. (MT)

Novolipetsk Loses Kiselyov

LONDON -- Steelmaker Novolipetsk said in a prospectus for a planned share sale that Oleg Kiselyov, who is facing criminal charges, resigned late last month from the company's board.

The case has "no relation" to Novolipetsk "or to Kiselyov's activities as a member of our board," the company said in the prospectus. (Bloomberg)

VW Favors Own Plant

FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen favors building its own plant in Russia rather than taking over an existing one and plans to invest 330 million euros ($386 million) in it, Germany's Boersen-Zeitung reported on Saturday.

"We are interested in entering the Russian market. We are in talks, but they are not through yet," a Volkswagen spokesman said. He declined to comment on further details. (Reuters)

EU Chemical Duties

BRUSSELS -- The European Union will impose five-year tariffs on imports from China and Russia of a chemical product used in pipes, machine parts and electrical equipment to shield manufacturers in the EU such as DuPont and Solvay.

The EU "anti-dumping" duties of up to 55.5 percent will apply to Chinese and Russian exporters of granular polytetrafluoroethylene. The 36.6 percent levy against Russia will take effect after publication in the Official Journal in coming days. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Suit In Turkey

ISTANBUL -- A group of investors has filed a lawsuit seeking to force Alfa, which bought a 13 percent stake in Turkcell last month, to make a matching offer to minority shareholders.

The Turkish Stock Exchange Investors' Association applied to a court in Ankara on Friday to overturn a ruling by Turkey's market regulator that exempted Alfa from making such an offer, the association said. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine Finds Bird Flu

KIEV -- Authorities were culling and burning fowl Sunday in three Crimean regions where Ukraine's first bird flu outbreak was recorded, an emergency official said.

More than 2,000 birds had already died of the virus in six villages of the Sovetskiy, Nizhnegirsky and Dzhankoysky regions, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said. (AP)