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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Neft Seeks Loan

Gazprom Neft, the oil unit of natural gas monopoly Gazprom, hired a group of international banks to raise $2.2 billion to expand its production and refining businesses, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The three-year loan is being organized by ABN Amro Holding, Credit Agricole's investment arm Calyon, Citigroup and Commerzbank, Gazprom Neft said. (Bloomberg)

Sakhalin Exports Delayed

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK -- Sakhalin-2's first year-round exports of Vityaz crude will be pushed back to 2008 due to delays in pipeline commissioning, sources said Wednesday.

The delay will mean lower-than-expected winter supplies of a highly-sought light crude to a tight oil market worried about peak heating season demand and already facing record prices at above $82 per barrel.

"We are going for the first half of next year for year-round production," said a crude trader familiar with the field. (Reuters)

TNK-BP Eyes Venezuela

TNK-BP wants to take advantage of Russia's relationship with Venezuela to begin oil projects in the South American country, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

TNK-BP executive director German Khan appealed to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in August for assistance in entering the Venezuelan market, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified diplomat. (Bloomberg)

Firms Eye Turkmen Deal

Oil producer LUKoil said Wednesday that it hoped to sign a contract with Turkmenistan by year-end, giving it and U.S. partner ConocoPhillips the right to explore three offshore blocks.

LUKoil, which is 20 percent owned by ConocoPhillips, won the right to explore the blocks in the Turkmen section of the Caspian Sea in June.

"Talks with the Turkmen Energy Ministry are ongoing. … We hope to conclude these and sign a contract toward the end of this year," LUKoil chief executive Vagit Alekperov said. (Reuters)

LUKoil Nixes Refinery Plan

LUKoil, the country's second-biggest oil producer, probably will not build a refinery in Vietnam, chief executive Vagit Alekperov said, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Alekperov said in December that Vietnam's government had asked LUKoil to build "two or three" refineries. (Bloomberg)

VSMPO Wins Duty Waiver

VSMPO-Avisma will no longer pay an anti-dumping duty on magnesium shipments to the United States after the U.S. Department of Commerce ruled that it was not selling the metal at unfair prices, the company said Wednesday.

VSMPO-Avisma said it had previously been assigned a 21.7 percent duty on magnesium shipments to the United States after an investigation based on 2003 price data. (Reuters)

UES Raises $51M From Sale

Unified Energy System, the state-controlled utility that's being broken up, raised 1.28 billion rubles ($50.8 million) from the sale of four power retail units as six went unsold, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

UES sold the units in two days of auctions, the company said. All four were bought at the starting price.

The other auctions did not take place either because of the absence of a second bidder or the participant's decision not to confirm the starting price, the utility said. (Bloomberg)

UES to Sell More Assets

Former power monopoly Unified Energy System will sell stakes in its Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tyumen distribution assets in May, a company official said Wednesday.

It also plans to sell 23.16 percent of Bashkirenergo for no less than $500 million to $600 million in December, first deputy head of UES's projects department Yekaterina Novokreshchyonykh said.

UES said its 14 percent of Novosibirskenergo would also be sold in November at a starting price of no less than $120 million, she said. (Reuters)

Three Banks Searched

The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that it was conducting searches of three banks in Moscow.

Project Financing Bank, or BPF, said Wednesday that searches taking place at its head office were connected with some of its clients' activities and were not directly related to the bank itself, Interfax reported.

"All our operations are being carried out as usual at our other offices," BPF said in a statement, the agency reported.

Two other banks, Master Bank and Lefko Bank, denied that their offices were being searched, Interfax said. (MT)

Gazprom Eyes British Plant

Gazprom is seeking a stake in Britain's gas-fired power plant Baglan Bay, owned by GE Energy, the energy arm of U.S. General Electric, Vedomosti reported Wednesday.

Gazprom sources said it hoped to buy the stake in partnership with German utility E.On, which has bid for the British plant. (Reuters)

Malev Set to Expand

BUDAPEST -- Malev, the Hungarian airline owned by billionaire Boris Abramovich, plans to set up a plane-maintenance unit in Russia, Malev CEO Peter Leonov said, Magyar Hirlap newspaper reported Wednesday.

The carrier's Aeroplex unit has begun operations at Domodedovo Airport and will start servicing Krasnoyarsk in 2008, Leonov said.

Malev will add new Russian routes next year to improve traffic at the unprofitable airline, Leonov told Magyar Hirlap. (Bloomberg)

Korsik Tapped for Russneft

Alexander Korsik, ex-head of gas producer Itera and a former vice president of oil company Sibneft, has been appointed chairman of embattled oil firm Russneft, the latter said Wednesday.

Korsik, 51, worked for Itera from 2006 and for Sibneft from 1997 to 2005, until its owner Roman Abramovich sold the firm to Gazprom.

Russneft's shareholders will hold an extraordinary meeting Oct. 5 to elect a new president to replace Mikhail Gutseriyev, who left the company in July after a string of claims from tax officials. (Reuters)

For the Record

LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov, his wife and son raised their holdings in the country's largest independent oil producer, buying 551 million rubles ($22 million) of stock. (Bloomberg)

Shareholders in the Chevron-led Caspian Pipeline Consortium agreed to expand capacity and raise transit fees, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified person close to the shareholders. (Bloomberg)