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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

LUKoil's $2.5Bln Project

LUKoil, Russia's biggest oil company, plans to build a $2.5 billion oil refinery on Turkey's Black Sea coast to process Russian and Kazakh crude, Milliyet newspaper reported, citing the company.

LUKoil applied to the Turkish energy markets regulator and is seeking Kazakh and Turkish partners to form a group for the project, Milliyet said, citing Nicolae Ciornii, a LUKoil vice president.

The refinery, to be built near the town of Zonguldak, will have a capacity of 8 million to 10 million metric tons. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom's Supply to Italy

Eni chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni said there were "no guarantees'' that Gazprom or Algeria's Sonatrach would continue to sell natural gas to Italy.

Italy, a net importer of the fuel, is at risk because suppliers may "aim to conquer markets where the outlook for growth is better,'' Scaroni said, according to a copy of a speech distributed at an Aspen Institute conference in Florence on Saturday.

Eni, Europe's fourth-biggest oil company, last month offered to help Russian companies including Gazprom expand their share of the Italian market in return for access to production and exploration resources in Russia.

Gazprom has exported gas to Italy through Eni since 1974. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil's Vysotsk Exports

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russia's top oil company, LUKoil, increased refined product exports from its Baltic Sea terminal of Vysotsk from January to June by 39 percent year on year, a terminal official said on Friday.

Vysotsk loaded 3.92 million tons of refined products in the first half of the year, compared with 2.82 million tons in the same period a year earlier.

LUKoil stopped oil exports via the terminal late last year after crude deliveries by rail became unprofitable.

In May 2006, it started exporting fuel oil, delivered by river, and sent its first 51,000-ton tanker from Vysotsk to the United States. (Reuters)

Slovakia's Stake in Pipeline

Slovakia will probably seek to buy back a 49 percent stake in Transpetrol, the country's oil-pipeline company, from Yukos, SITA news agency said, citing newly appointed Slovakian Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, bought the stake from Slovakia in 2002 for $74 million.

The Slovak government last month blocked the sale of the shares to Russia's Russneft for $103 million. (Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley Selling Up

Morgan Stanley is selling shares worth about $29.98 million in Novatek, Russia's second-biggest natural gas producer, bankers said in a note to clients.

The brokerage is selling 670,000 shares for $44.75 each, according to the note. A Morgan Stanley spokesman was not immediately available to comment. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine Wants Price Held

Ukraine has asked Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas supplier, to help it cover a projected 12 billion cubic meter gas shortfall later this year by not raising prices on imports, Kommersant said.

Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov and Naftogaz Ukrainy's acting chief executive officer Oleksiy Bolkisyev asked Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller, to guarantee deliveries at $95 per thousand cubic meters until year-end to prevent a shortfall expected in November and December, Kommersant said, citing an unidentified person in the Ukrainian negotiating team. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom In the Middle East

Gas monopoly Gazprom's banking arm, Gazprombank, has opened a subsidiary in Lebanon to service its parent company and other Russian firms in North Africa and the Middle East, the bank said on Friday.

"Lebanon's central bank made a decision on July 5 to issue a banking license for Gazprombank-Invest SAL. The bank will be ready to start operations in as soon as the next three months," Gazprombank said in a statement.

Gazprombank-Invest SAL is 100 percent owned by Gazprombank, Russia's third-largest bank. (Reuters)

Alrosa's Profit Rises 8.4%

Alrosa, Russia's diamond monopoly, had net income of 15.1 billion rubles ($560 million) last year, 8.4 percent more than in 2004, Interfax said, citing the company.

The results were calculated to Russian accounting standards, the news service said. Interfax did not immediately provide any other details of the Mirny, Yakutia-based company's financial performance last year. (Bloomberg)

Evraz Steel Output Up 20%

Evraz, Russia's biggest steel producer, increased second-quarter output by one-fifth amid rising prices for the metal.

Crude steel output rose to 4.2 million metric tons, from 3.5 million tons a year earlier, the Moscow-based company said Friday in a statement. (Bloomberg)

Urals Energy to Expand

Urals Energy, a London-traded company with assets in Siberia, will expand exploration of its field in Russia's Arctic after it receives permission from authorities. The shares rose.

The company plans to extend works at the Peshanoozersky field on Kolguyev Island in the Barents Sea after Natural Resources Ministry awarded "the right to test zones, without any depth limitations, below the existing Lower Triassic horizon" at the deposit, Urals reported on Friday in a statement.

Urals expects to find "significant" oil and gas potential, based on data collected in 1986 after a deeper well tested 180 barrels per day of oil, the company said. (Bloomberg)

Societe Generale Acquisition

Societe Generale, France's third-largest bank, completed the acquisition of Russia's SKT Bank, seeking to expand its consumer-lending business in the country.

Russian authorities approved the acquisition, the Paris-based lender reported in an e-mailed statement Friday.

Societe Generale bought SKT bank through its Russian unit Rusfinance. The French lender has not disclosed the price of the acquisition.

The purchase "strengthens the geographic coverage of Societe Generale's consumer finance business in Russia, in particular in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as reinforcing its expertise in express car finance," the company said in the statement. (Bloomberg)

Blair to Lobby for Browder

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to lobby President Vladimir Putin on behalf of Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder, who has been denied entry into Russia since November, The Observer reported, without saying where it got the information.

Blair will use the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg next week to ask Putin to lift all restrictions on Browder, the newspaper said.

Downing Street declined to comment on Blair's scheduled discussions with Putin, The Observer said.

Russia has not given an explanation for the withdrawal of Browder's visa, although there is speculation that he made powerful enemies in the country by publicly criticizing poor corporate governance at Russia's biggest companies, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)