19 Jul 2010 10:05

Moscow press review for July 19, 2010

MOSCOW. July 19 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on July 19. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


The Finance Ministry seems to have broken through the defenses of Gazprom. The natural resources' extradition tax (NRET) for gas may be raised for the first time in five years starting with 2011 though it will not be doubled as the ministry had wanted. The ministry has been trying to get the tax raised for four years. But every time Gazprom succeeded in avoiding the hike. The monopoly was saved by a warm winter and a drop in revenues, or by the crisis, or by former Board Chairman Dmitry Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "Starting with next year the NRET for gas will be raised," an official from the Economic Development Ministry told Vedomosti. That was the result of three conferences held starting Friday with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Deputy Prime minister Igor Sechin. NRET will grow though "insignificantly", a government official confirmed ("Victory over Gazprom")

On Saturday Bulgaria and Russia signed a roadmap on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline and a protocol on the deliveries of Russian natural gas to Bulgaria. Gazprom and Bulgargaz will have direct contracts starting with June 2011, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko promised adding that no mediators will be left. There is also an understanding on preferential gas prices for Bulgaria which should result in a drop in the price for the end users, Shmatko noted (Interfax quote). The minister did not specify what preferences were in question. His advisor Irina Yesipova redirected the questions to Gazprom but representatives of the monopoly left them unanswered. ("Discounts for the Pipeline")

"We will be asking the government for a sum of 100 billion rubles in 2011 even though the construction of new highways will have to be given up," Transport Minister Igor Levitin has said (Interfax quote). The budget for next year implies merely 56.8 billion rubles for the repairs and maintenance of federal highway while the industry needs 193.5 billion, he said. According to his ministry's estimates, in 2012 and 2013 at least 124.8 billion and 188 billion rubles respectively will be needed for highways. But that amount will be sufficient only for the repairs and maintenance of the existing highways while the cosntruciton of new ones will have to be put off, the ministry believes. ("Repairs for 100 Bln Rubles")

Last week AvtoVAZ President Igor Komarov signed orders appointing a vice president for sales and marketing, an insider and a source close to Lada Service told Vedomosti. Maxim Nagaitsev who recently left the company will be replaced by Artyom Fedosov who was appointed the AvtoVAZ sales department director in May and who carried on Nagaitsev's functions. AvtoVAZ director for foreign relations Igor Burenkov confirmed this. Before joining AvtoVAZ Fedosov had nothing to do with the automotive industry. ("Cars instead of Toys")


On Friday the future head of Russia's third oil company TNK-BP, Maxim Barsky, described his idea of the company's development strategy in the next ten years to shareholders. In line with the strategy may grow by one third during the period in question. However, shareholders did not officially approve the parameters of the strategy. They bound the management to compile a three-year business plan by October. Barsky whose contract expires in 2013 will be working in line with the plan. (p. "Maxim Barsky to compile himself a Progam")

Svyazinvest is not planning to sign an option agreement with the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) for the buyback of its stake (29.9%) in Rostelecom . The state-owned holding for the first time officially announced this stance last Friday at a conference at the Finance Ministry. (p. 8 "DIA left with Rostelecom")