Moscow press review for October 7, 2009
MOSCOW. Oct 7 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on October 7. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.
The Natural Resources Ministry has accommodated oil companies by increasing the size of admissible deviations of actual production levels from the projected ones. At all gas fields, deviation from the projected production level can reach 20%, the ministry said. As for oil fields, the deviation levels can vary from 7.5% at fields with planned production of over 25 million tonnes a year to 50% at fields with planned production of less than 25,000 tonnes a year. Production limitations during exploratory operations have been lifted at all, which should reduce the risk of license revocation and criminal prosecutions ('Pump As Much As Necessary', see also Kommersant, page 9, 'Oilmen's Powers Broadened').
France's Total and GdF Suez will buy 25% from KazMunayGas in the Khvalynskoye field project. Total plans to get 17%, while GdF Suez 8%, Total CEO Christophe de Margerie said. He refrained from disclosing the value of the deal, saying only that the two French companies would invest about $1 billion in the project. KasMunayGas will retain 25% in the project, and the other 50% belong to Lukoil ('Lukoil Finds Partners', see also Kommersant, page 11, 'Kazakhstan Invites Partners for Lukoil').
Transneft Independent Director Oleg Vyugin has proposed making public information on the company's charity donations. These expenditures are comparable to Gazprom's analogous expenditures in their size, but Transneft does not disclose the recipients of its donations even to its shareholders ('Transneft Has Nothing to Hide').
Proposals on introducing a progressive scale of metal export duty rates have been submitted to the government, two officials involved in drafting the proposals said. The officials planned to test the new scale on nickel, the export duty on which has been reduced to zero since January 21. However, it was decided last week that the export duty on nickel would be set at 5% starting December 1, 2009. At the present time, a progressive export duty scale is applied to export duties on oil and oil products. Economic Development Deputy Minister Andrei Slepnyov had said earlier that the ministry had drawn up a formula for calculating a progressive export duty rate on all metals traded at LME ('Tied to Exchange').
Russia may issue Eurobonds in February, but a more definite date for this step will depend on the situation on the market, the Finance Ministry said ('Debt Debut').
Starting 2010, the maximum size of a company's stake traded abroad will be reduced to 25% from 30%, the Federal Financial Markets Service (FFMS) reported. The Justice Ministry has registered the directive. Companies will be entitled to trade this many shares abroad if these shares are included in the A quotation list or their placement and circulation is arranged by a depositary bank in a country whose regulator has an interaction agreement with the FFMS ('Foreign Quarter').
The owners of small grid companies may lose control of their assets soon. The Energy Ministry has drafted rules making it possible to withdraw control of regional grids and delegate it, along with financial flows, to other organizations for five years following accidents. These rules are to be passed to the government for endorsement. Analysts believe that companies integrated in Holding MRSK may become the principal candidates for acquiring such assets (page 11, 'State Eying Private Grids').
The Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) is preparing for massive liquidation of small regional banks as tightened capital requirements are to take effect in 2010. Expecting a shortage of its own personnel, the DIA intends to hire private managers and jobless bankers to handle the liquidation and bankruptcy procedures. These measures will enable the DIA to promptly respond to the Bank of Russia's revocation of licenses but may increase its reputation risks, in experts' view (page 9, 'Personnel Deficit').