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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Accusations

Gazprom on Friday accused Ukraine of siphoning off as much gas as Germany usually receives from Russia over three days, raising the heat in a renewed gas dispute that has led to more shortfalls in Russian gas exports to Europe.

Ukraine, the transit point for 80 percent of Gazprom's gas supplies to Europe, has been consuming record amounts of gas as temperatures have plunged to record lows.

Russia accuses Kiev of tapping into transit pipelines pumping gas to Europe. It won support Friday from Italy, which has had to call on Italian citizens to reduce heating use to help save energy because of daily shortages of Russian gas deliveries. (AP)

Rosukrenergo Deal

KIEV-- Ukraine may reject setting up a venture with Rosukrenergo to sell Russian gas, three weeks after a dispute over gas prices curtailed supplies to western Europe.

"The president and the government seek to set up a joint venture, but Rosukrenergo must be completely transparent for this. If the transparency causes any doubts, the agreement may not be signed,'' said Volodymyr Horbulin, aide to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine and Gazprom agreed on Jan. 4 to set up the marketing venture by Feb. 1, as part of the accord that resolved the price dispute. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Cuts Exports

LUKoil said on Friday that it would cut fuel oil exports by a quarter in February to meet local demand at a time of extreme cold. Traders said other firms might follow suit. A LUKoil official said the firm would cut exports by around 118,000 tons in February from the 435,000 tons it intended to send abroad in January.

"LUKoil confirms it is ready to deliver fuel oil to [power monopoly] UES, and the housing sector as electricity demand has peaked because of the cold snap," the official said.

Private major LUKoil has always tried to maintain good relations with the Kremlin and has often been among the first to react to state requests, such as a call for a cut in gasoline prices or a reduction in fuel oil exports. (Reuters)

TNK-BP Output Down

The coldest Russian weather in about 30 years is reducing oil output from some Siberian oil fields by as much as 4 percent, reducing national output by as much as 1 percent, the head of TNK-BP said.

"It's just temporary,'' TNK-BP chief executive officer Robert Dudley told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, where he is attending the World Economic Forum.

"When the temperature drops below minus 39 degrees Celsius, you shouldn't have people working out in the fields.'' (Bloomberg)

Chechnya Gas Supplies

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- A damaged pipeline that delivers natural gas to parts of southern Chechnya region was fixed and supplies resumed Saturday, an emergency official said.

The pipeline ruptured late Thursday outside the city of Gudermes, cutting off gas supplies to parts of the capital Grozny, in central Chechnya, and the districts of Shali, Kurchaloi and Nozhai-Yurt to the southeast. Several hospitals and schools in Chechnya were closed due to the cutoff.

Repairs were completed on Saturday morning and gas was pumped into the restored portion of the pipeline later after tests, a duty officer at the southern branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said. (AP)

Transneft Warning

Transneft will sue Russia's environmental oversight agency if it rejects a Transneft pipeline project in eastern Siberia, Interfax reported, citing vice president Sergei Grigoryev.

Greenpeace is putting "pressure" on government experts to say the $11.5 billion pipeline project to the Pacific coast will hurt the environment, Interfax said, citing Grigoryev. The company will prove in court their concerns are unfounded, the agency said.

A pipeline leak around Lake Baikal could send 4,000 tons of crude (29,000 barrels) into the lake within 20 minutes, Greenpeace and other environmental groups said last year. Grigoryev said a pipeline accident is impossible. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil China Talks

LUKoil said its chief executive would visit China with President Vladimir Putin for talks with China National Petroleum Corp. amid disputes over oil fields in Kazakhstan.

Chief executive Vagit Alekperov and Putin will visit China in March, deputy chief executive officer Leonid Fedun said Jan. 25 in London. LUKoil plans to expand output from a Kazakhstan venture with China National, the nation's largest producer, for export to China.

LUKoil and CNPC are competing for rights to drill in Kazakhstan, the largest oil producer among the former Soviet states besides Russia. (Bloomberg)

JKX in Ukraine

LONDON -- JKX Oil & Gas, a British-based oil and natural-gas explorer with production mostly in Ukraine, was awarded the Chervonoyarske East exploration license in the country.

The license, valid for five years of exploration, is for an area approximately 75 kilometers from JKX's existing production facilities, the London-based company said Friday. (Bloomberg)

Kyrgyz Oil Exploration

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Gazprom said on Friday that it would spend "hundreds of millions of dollars" to help Kyrgyzstan explore its oil and gas reserves, entrenching itself further in Central Asia.

Kyrgyzstan is believed to be sitting on big oil and gas reserves, but it still largely depends on energy imports from other ex-Soviet states.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, on a visit to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, said after talks with Prime Minister Felix Kulov that Russia would help the mountainous country explore and develop its oil and gas reserves, and modernize its production facilities. (Reuters)

Novorossiisk Back Online

Russia's second-largest oil port, Novorossiisk, opened to shipping Thursday after a seven-day closure caused by high winds and rough seas in the Black Sea, local shipping agents said.

Shipping operations at Novorossiisk are frequently disrupted during winter months. The port was closed for six days earlier this month. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Nuclear Plans

Gazprom could expand into nuclear power under a Kremlin plan, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Under the plan, Gazprom would build and control the nuclear plants, while the fall in demand for gas-fueled electricity generation would enable the company to export more of its gas to lucrative foreign markets, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified officials in the presidential administration.

Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko has said that some $60 billion needs to be invested in 40 new nuclear power plants over the next 25 years. (AP)

'05 Gold Output

Russia's gold output fell to 168.03 tons in 2005, down 3.5 percent from 2004, industry lobby the Russian Gold Industrialists Union said on Friday. The lobby has revised down its estimate of total gold output in 2004 to 174.14 tons from a previous 180.5.

"The 2004 secondary gold output figure had to be revised down by some 6 tons," Valery Braiko, head of the lobby, said. He declined to elaborate. (Reuters)

Alfa Hits Back at Telenor

Alfa Group's telecoms arm, Altimo, plans to sue Norwegian telecoms company Telenor and its executives for slander, following Telenor's launch of lawsuits against mobile operator VimpelCom last week. Altimo and Telenor hold blocking stakes in VimpelCom.

During a news conference last Thursday, Telenor accused the mobile operator of convening an illegal extraordinary shareholders meeting, providing misleading information to shareholders regarding VimpelCom's $231.3 million November purchase of Ukrainian RadioSystems and making the purchase without proper approval by the board.

In addition to denying Telenor's allegations that the URS deal violated VimpelCom's charter, Altimo said Telenor harmed VimpelCom's shareholders by stalling the URS deal. (MT)

Efes Beer Sales Climb 17%

ISTANBUL -- Anadolu Efes Biracilik & Malt Sanayii, the Turkish company that is Russia's fourth-largest brewer, said the amount of beer it sold overseas rose 17 percent last year as sales gained in Russia.

Foreign beer sales totaled 8.9 million hectoliters and the Istanbul-based company's Russian sales climbed 16 percent to 5.9 million hectoliters, according to a stock-exchange filing Friday. (Bloomberg)

Dixi Retailer Ownership

Citigroup holds 30 percent of Dixi Retail, the operating company for Russia's fourth-biggest chain of discount supermarkets by sales, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing the chain's founder, Oleg Leonov.

Citigroup International Financial Corporation and Cube Private Equity, two of Citigroup's venture funds, bought the stake in early 2004 for $60 million, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)