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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Oil Export Duties Cut

LONDON -- Russia will cut export duties for crude oil and oil products starting Feb. 1, following a decline in world oil prices, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing Alexander Sakovich, a deputy head of the Finance Ministry's customs department.

The duty will be cut to $160.80 per ton ($21.94 per barrel), from the $179.60 per ton charged starting Dec. 1, the news service said.

Duty on high-grade oil products, such as gasoline, will also be cut, to $120.70 a ton, from $133.50 now, the news service said. Export tax on low-grade fuel, such as fuel oil, will be cut to $65 per ton, from $71.90 per ton now. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Sales to Armenia

Gazprom may sell 19 percent more natural gas to Armenia this year than it did last year, Interfax said Tuesday, citing Armenian gas distributor ArmRosGazprom.

ArmRosGazprom applied to buy 2 billion cubic meters of Russian gas this year, up from 1.685 billion cubic meters last year, the news service said.

A final decision will be made after Armenia and Gazprom, which each own 45 percent of ArmRosGazprom, agree on a price, Interfax said. Gazprom wants the former Soviet republic to pay $110 per 1,000 cubic meters, more than double the $54 it paid last year. Itera owns 10 percent of ArmRosGazprom. (Bloomberg)

Abbot Contracts Help Stock

EDINBURGH, Scotland -- Shares of Abbot Group, a British oil-drilling contractor, rose to a record after the company said it won contracts worth $275 million.

The stock was up 7.6 percent to 285 pence in early trading in London on Tuesday, giving the Scottish-based company a market value of ?526 million ($931 million).

The company on Tuesday said in a statement that it won four contracts to drill for oil and gas in Russia and Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg)

Novorossiisk Disruption

LONDON -- Russia's second-largest oil port, the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, was closed to shipping for a sixth day because of high winds and rough seas, local ship agents said Tuesday.

Northeast winds of up to 79 kilometers per hour closed in on the harbor, causing 2-meter-high swells, according to the agents, who did not want to be named. Operations were halted Jan. 5.

One tanker, the Cape Banks, had docked at the Sheskharis oil terminal, while another 17 were waiting to berth. Five tankers are scheduled to arrive at the facility in the next three days, the agents said. (Bloomberg)

$1Bln Loan for TNK-BP

TNK-BP has hired ABN Amro, Barclays Capital and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein to arrange a $1 billion loan, Interfax said Tuesday.

The loan will probably not be secured and will be used to "replenish working assets," Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the transaction.

The credit will be syndicated among a limited number of banks, the news service said. TNK-BP is Russia's biggest oil exporter. (Bloomberg)

RusAl Loan

Russian Aluminum, the world's third-largest aluminum producer, has secured a five-year, $687.5 million bank syndicate loan, BNP Paribas, one of the banks in the syndicate, said Tuesday in a statement.

The loan, a dual-tranche type with the first two-year tranche unsecured, is the first of such kind for a Russian metals and mining company, the statement said. ABN Amro, BNP Paribas and Citigroup acted as bookrunners for the loan. (MT)

Coal Exports Down

Coal exports from Russia, the world's fourth-biggest exporter of the fuel, decreased a monthly 12 percent in December, the biggest drop in at least nine months.

Exports declined to 5.84 million tons from 6.63 million tons in November, the Industry and Energy Ministry said Tuesday in a statement, without saying why. Production rose 2.9 percent on the month to 28.55 million tons.

Coal prices surged to a record in 2005, after demand rose in Europe, the United States and China, where higher prices for natural gas caused some utilities to use more coal to produce electricity and heat. (Bloomberg)

Coffee Tariff Suspended

Russia will suspend a 5 percent import tariff on green coffee beans for nine months starting in February to support domestic roasters and instant coffee producers, the government said Tuesday.

The official government newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published the order scrapping the tariff. Normally, the government extends a new tariff after an initial nine-month period.

Russian coffee manufacturers have said that scrapping the tariff would stimulate the building of full-cycle plants processing green beans into instant coffee.

Russia imported 31,400 tons of green coffee beans for around $55 million in the first 10 months of 2005. (Reuters)

PKN Seeks Acquisitions

PKN Orlen, Poland's largest refiner, said it wanted to build up its exploration business by buying oil fields in Russia, Eastern Europe and Iraq, raising concern the company will cut its dividends.

The company may spend as much as 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) on acquisitions, chief executive officer Igor Chalupec said at a news conference Tuesday in Warsaw. (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Reserves

LONDON -- Kazakhstan has doubled its proved, recoverable oil reserves in the last several years through exploration.

The country now counts about 30 billion barrels of oil in its fields, said Amantai Suyesinov, the deputy head of oil at the Kazakh Energy Ministry. Crude output is expected to almost triple, to 3.6 million barrels per day, by 2015.

Kazakhstan also holds 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, enough to supply Europe and Asia for almost three years, Suyesinov said in a statement. "Probable reserves of oil fields in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea would likely exceed 124.3 billion barrels," he said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Steel Authority of India is seeking to buy coking coal mines in Poland, Russia and Australia, the newspaper Business Standard reported, citing chairman V.S. Jain. State-run Steel Authority is India's biggest steelmaker. (Bloomberg)

France's Societe Generale is interested in buying Ukrsotsbank of Ukraine, Les Echos reported Tuesday, without saying where it got the information. Ukrsotsbank, Ukraine's fourth-biggest lender, has mandated Merrill Lynch to find potential buyers, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

The National Bank of Ukraine's foreign exchange reserves more than doubled in 2005 as the country sold state assets to foreign companies and the currency appreciated. The reserves rose to $19.39 billion as of Dec. 31 from $9.52 billion the year earlier. (Bloomberg)