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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Oil Pipeline to Lithuania



Russia's crude export pipeline to Lithuania is so worn as to be unusable and may be replaced by a new route that would bypass the Baltic country, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified safety regulator.

Russia closed the pipeline last year after an oil spill. In February, Lithuania's government said the repairs should be completed and called the delay a political act. Pipeline monopoly Transneft is assessing whether to restore the link, CEO Semyon Vainshtok said last week. (Bloomberg)




Eni in Talks With Gazprom



CEYHAN, Turkey -- Italian energy company Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni said the company was still in talks with Gazprom about buying more crude oil and natural gas assets in Russia after agreeing this month to produce fuel there.

"We're always talking about gaining assets," Scaroni said on the sidelines of a news conference on Tuesday in Ceyhan, Turkey. "There could be other developments with Gazprom." (Bloomberg)




Enel Interested in Plants



LONDON -- Enel, Italy's largest utility, said it would examine OGK-4 and OGK-5 as potential acquisitions a month after losing out in an auction for Siberian electricity producer OGK-3.

"Russia is one market that is fundamental to us based on its size and growth rate," Andrea Brentan, head of international mergers and acquisitions at Enel, said Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of the London Economic Forum.

Enel is building up an integrated energy business in Russia that incorporates natural-gas extraction, gas-fired power generation and electricity distribution, Brentan said. (Bloomberg)




Gazprom to Start Italy Sales



MILAN, Italy -- Gazprom will start selling natural gas in Italy on May 1 to a group of municipal utilities, the newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Tuesday, without saying where it got the information.

Gazprom will probably agree to sell 1.9 billion cubic meters of gas in Italy in a contract for up to 18 months, the Italian newspaper said. The utilities include Aem, ASM and Hera, the newspaper reported. Gazprom Marketing & Trading Italia needs capacity on gas networks in Austria and Italy to transport the fuel from Russia, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)




Mol Acquires Rights to Field



BUDAPEST -- Mol, Hungary's largest energy company, bought the rights to an oil field in western Siberia from Russian private investors as part of its plan to shift from refining toward production.

Mol bought a 100 percent stake in Matyushkinskaya Vertikal, which has exploration and production rights for a 3,231-square-kilometer field near the city of Tomsk, the Hungarian company said in a statement to the Budapest Stock Exchange. Mol did not disclose the price. (Bloomberg)




Russia-Kazakh Gas Venture



ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Russia and Kazakhstan are close to finalizing a joint venture based on Orenburg gas processing plant, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov said Tuesday.

The venture will process gas from Kazakhstan's Karachaganak field, co-led by Eni and Britain's BG, which both hold 32.5 percent stakes. Chevron owns 20 percent and LUKoil has a 15 percent interest in it. Masimov told reporters talks between Russia and Kazakhstan on the Orenburg plant had entered their final stage ahead of President Vladimir Putin's planned visit to the Central Asian state next month. (Reuters)




Eni Sets Kashagan Date



CEYHAN, Turkey -- Eni reiterated that it would start crude oil production at Kazakhstan's Kashagan field in 2010 and would not pay a fine for delays in the project.

Kashagan, the world's biggest oil discovery in 30 years, will start producing fuel in the third quarter of 2010, Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni said Tuesday. The first phase of construction will cost $19 billion, he said, confirming the company's February forecast. (Bloomberg)




Mitsui, Evraz to Cancel Field



TOKYO -- Mitsui, Japan's second-largest trading house, and steelmaker Evraz Group canceled an agreement to develop a coking coal mine in eastern Siberia, citing "difficult geotechnical conditions."

Mitsui agreed to terminate an agreement signed in October 2005 with Evraz to develop the Denisovskoye field in the republic of Sakha signed in October 2005, Mitsui said Tuesday. It said it had underestimated the challenges of drilling numerous tunnels in permafrost areas. (Bloomberg)




Kingfisher Mulls Venture



Kingfisher, Europe's largest home-improvement retailer, and Russian supermarket chain Vester Group are considering a joint venture to boost their drive for growth in the country.

The Russian unit of Kingfisher's Castorama chain held early stage talks about jointly financing new stores, Kaliningrad-based Vester said in a statement on its web site on April 23.

"The two companies' management think such strategic partnership can provide a competitive advantage that's so needed today on the Russian retail market," Vester said. (Bloomberg)




MTS Wins Uzbek License



Mobile-phone company Mobile TeleSystems won a license to provide faster wireless services such as video-conferencing and mobile television in Uzbekistan, the company said Tuesday in a statement

The Central Asian country's government granted Mobile TeleSystems a license for so-called third generation services until 2016, the company said. Mobile TeleSystems plans to start its 3G network, which will add to its existing network, in the capital Tashkent next year. (Bloomberg)




VimpelCom Shares Buyback



Mobile phone company VimpelCom will buy back 1.6 million American Depositary Receipts by the end of next year for a management incentive program, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The proxy stock is equal to 400,000 ordinary shares, or about 0.8 percent of the company, VimpelCom said. The program will involve 100 managers, VimpelCom Alexander Izosimov said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)




AS Baltika Profits Boosted



TALLINN, Estonia -- AS Baltika, an Estonian clothing maker and retailer, said first-quarter profit increased 69 percent, led by store openings in Russia and Ukraine.

Net income rose to 24 million krooni ($2.1 million), the company said Tuesday in a statement. Revenue increased 44 percent to 266 million krooni.

Russia has become the company's third-largest retail market, representing 19 percent of sales. Revenue from Estonia's eastern neighbor more than doubled after the company increased the number of Russian stores to 24 from 11 one year earlier. Baltika also has 22 stores in Ukraine, generating 18 percent of retail sales. (Bloomberg)