Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

January Oil Output Drops

Oil output fell by around 180,000 barrels per day in January, the biggest monthly drop in the past seven years, as extreme cold hit the country's Siberian oil producing heartland.

Industry and Energy Ministry sources said Tuesday that oil output stood at 38.777 million tons in the first 30 days of January (9.47 million bpd) compared with an all-time high of 9.65 million bpd, reached in December. (Reuters)

Primorsk Exports

Russia plans to export a record amount of crude oil in February from Primorsk, its biggest oil port, after loadings at Lithuania's Butinge outlet were halted due to an accident.

Oil loadings at Primorsk will surge to 1.26 million barrels per day in February, 60,000 bpd more January, according to port schedules obtained by Bloomberg that are issued by the Energy and Industry Ministry.

No schedule for Butinge could be obtained, where a tanker damaged a mooring on Dec. 29, leaving the port closed for repairs. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom Ups UES Stake

Gazprom has continued expanding into electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems by raising its stake in the third quarter of 2005, the company revealed in its latest financial report.

The world's largest natural gas producer is now UES's largest stake owner -- after the state's 52.7 percent share --with an 11.6 percent holding, which is up from 10.5 percent previously, according to Gazprom's January to September results released late on Monday. (Reuters)

Sakhalin-2 Stake Sale

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK -- Mitsubishi and Mitsui, Japan's largest trading companies, may sell part of their stake in the Royal Dutch Shell-led $20 billion Sakhalin-2 oil and liquefied natural gas project, Mitsubishi's chief financial officer said.

The Japanese companies may sell part of their stake to Shell because state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom is likely to get a stake in the project, Ichiro Mizuno, Mitsubishi's finance head, said in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Shell owns 55 percent of Sakhalin Energy, which is the operator of the Sakhalin-2 project. Mitsui holds 25 percent and Mitsubishi owns 20 percent. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Plans in Iraq

LONDON -- LUKoil will restart talks with Iraq's government to develop oil fields in the country, the Financial Times said, citing LUKoil vice president Leonid Fedun.

LUKoil holds a majority stake in the $3.8 billion West Qurna oil field, for which it signed a contract in 1997 that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ended in 2002, the FT said.

"This year, we will be able to start specific negotiations to develop fields," Fedun told the FT, adding "2006 for us is the year that we are very optimistic. Finally, we have a legitimate government in Iraq." (Bloomberg)

Tatneft's Sales at $6 Bln

Oil company Tatneft said Tuesday sales probably rose to about $6 billion last year after production and oil prices increased.

"Sales for 2005 are expected to be approximately 170 billion rubles" ($6.04 billion), the Almetyevsk, Tatarstan-based company said Tuesday. That would be an increase of 13 percent on the year.

Output rose by "almost" 1 percent in 2005, when the company pumped 25.33 million tons of crude (509,000 bpd), the statement said. (Bloomberg)

Novatek Output

Gas producer Novatek raised natural gas output 59 percent last year to 25.2 billion cubic meters, as the company took full ownership of its units and increased output at their fields.

The company boosted output most at two of its largest fields, Yurkharovskoye and Khancheyskoye, Moscow-based Novatek said Tuesday in a statement.

Liquids output fell after the company sold Geoilbent to LUKoil in the second quarter of 2005, the company said. The rate of oil production at Novatek and its units, including those it sold, rose 4 percent, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Magnitogorsk Output

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, or MMK, plans to raise steel output by at least 3.9 percent this year.

Production will rise to at least 10.6 million tons in 2006, from 10.2 million tons last year, the Magnitogorsk-based company said Tuesday in a statement on its web site.

MMK in September said it expected profits to decline to $932 million in 2005, after posting record net income of $1.2 billion in 2004 as steel prices peaked. (Bloomberg)

Novolipetsk Acquisitions

Steelmaker Novolipetsk has bought Siberian miners Prokopyevsk Coal and Altai Coke for about $800 million so it can produce all the raw materials it needs to make steel, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, without saying where it got the information.

Novolipetsk, which has been seeking raw material producers since at least 2001, bought the miners from Russian metals billionaire Iskander Makhmudov, the newspaper said. Altai is Russia's biggest coke supplier, producing 2 million tons last year. Prokopyevsk mined 5.1 million tons of coal last year. (Bloomberg)

RusAl EU Ruling

BRUSSELS -- Russian Aluminium, or RusAl, will gain easier access to the European Union market after EU regulators said the company no longer posed an unfair-trade threat.

The EU will scrap a requirement for RusAl's SayanAl unit to sell aluminum foil at a minimum price in the 25-nation bloc. The EU will also maintain SayanAl 's exemption from a 14.9 percent duty that the company would have faced had it not made a minimum-price pledge.

The EU imposed the trade restriction for five years in May 2001. (Bloomberg)

Vneshtorgbank IPO

BERLIN -- State-owned Vneshtorgbank will float one quarter of its shares on the stock market by early 2007 and use the proceeds to expand across Europe, a newspaper reported Tuesday, citing the bank's president.

The bank aims to sell 25 percent of its stock for about $2.5 billion on the Moscow and London exchanges, Andrei Kostin told Germany's Handelsblatt daily.

Vneshtorgbank will use the funds to bolster subsidiaries that it has bought from the Russian Central Bank in cities including Frankfurt, London and Paris, Kostin reportedly said. (AP)

Vneshtorgbank Acquisition

Vneshtorgbank has agreed to buy Kiev-based Mriya for $70 million, accelerating its expansion in Ukraine.

The bank plans to invest 300 million euros into Mriya to make it one of Ukraine's five biggest banks within three years, Vneshtorgbank chief executive Andrei Kostin said Tuesday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Stockmann Zara Deal

MADRID -- Inditex, the owner of the Zara fashion chain, agreed to buy six franchised Zara stores in Russia operated by Stockmann for 41.5 million euros ($50 million).

The company also plans to open seven more Russian shops this year, according to a statement released today by Arteixo, Spain-based Inditex. The retailer has been buying out partners' stakes in countries such as Japan and Italy as it expands abroad. (Bloomberg)

Kazakhmys Copper Output

Kazakhmys, the Kazakh miner that completed an initial public offering in London in October, said fourth-quarter copper production rose 8.6 percent from the preceding three months after it finished smelter maintenance.

The company produced 102,500 tons of finished copper in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 94,400 tons in the third quarter, it said Tuesday. Full-year output dropped 7.3 percent to 396,600 tons from 428,000 tons in 2004. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

Italy's Eni said it received its full shipment of Russian gas, breaking a period of almost two weeks during which deliveries were lower than requested amid freezing temperatures in Eastern Europe. (Bloomberg)

Austria's Raiffeisen International Bank will open a business in Moldova to build regional trade ties. (Bloomberg)

Gold producer Peter Hambro Mining said Tuesday that its joint venture with British-Australian firm Rio Tinto in the Russia's Far East was being terminated due to low gold reserves in the Chagoyansk field. (Reuters)