15 Sep 2009 10:43

Moscow press review for September 15, 2009

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) - The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on September 15. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's visit to Moscow last week resulted in the signing of a memorandum setting up a joint venture between Russia's National Oil Consortium (NOC) and Venezuela's PDVSA. The joint venture will be developing the Junin 6 oil field. The right to participate in the development of the Venezuelan oil field will cost to Russian oil companies $1 billion. NOC includes five biggest Russian oil companies - Rosneft , Lukoil , TNK-BP, Surgutneftegaz and Gazprom Neft (each holds 20%). If they will have to pay proportionately to their shares, each participant will have to pay $200 million. ("Entry fee," also "Kommersant" - page 11, "Venezuela charged bonus from oilmen")

On Tuesday the government will consider energy companies' investment programs for 2010. The Energy Ministry's materials for the session were posted on the government's website on Monday. Energy companies' total investment in 2010 is estimated at 779.2 billion rubles, including 600.8 billion rubles in state companies' investment programs. This is 13.5% lower than what was previously planned by state corporations for 2010, the Energy Ministry said in its presentation for the governmental session. The ministry did not disclose how much the private generating companies' investment program will reduce. ("Energy sequester," also Kommersant - page 8, "Emergency connection")

RusAl is planning to allocate 10-20% of its shares in Hong Kong as early as in December. The company could be estimated at $20-30 billion. The allocation will be organized by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, who might start the pre-marketing of the deal in November. A secondary allocation of shares in Paris is also being discussed. Representatives from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. RusAl's director for stock markets Oleg Mukhamedshin said in August that RusAl could hold an IPO within two years to repay the main part of its debt ($14 billion owed to banks). RusAl spokeswoman Vera Kurochkina said on Monday that the company did not make any decisions about an IPO: "The allocation dates have not been fixed, no banks have been designated." ("Time not yet ripe for Hong Kong")

Russia could recover from the crisis in three years and will then grow at 3.5-4% per year, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. The main risks are related to external conditions, he said, while the second wave of the crisis could be provoked by the U.S. financial sectors. One of the main budget problems for the next three years is the lack of resources, Kudrin said. In projecting its spending, the finance ministry uses the average oil price of $50, he said. ("Three years at the bottom")

In a month the government could become the only owner of Svyazinvest. Last weekend Prime Minister Vladimir Putin approve the telecommunications assets swap scheme between the government and AFK Sistema , the newspaper learnt from a source close to AFK Sistema (owns 25.1% in Svyazinvest through Komstar-OTS) and a government official. The latter said that the swap is due to start in a month, when all the details of the deals will be finalized, including with VEB and Rosimushchestvo. ("Putin agreed with Yevtushenkov")


France could become Russia's partner in two key energy political projects: Nord and South Stream. Kommersant has learnt that Gazprom is planning to sign soon a memorandum on cooperation with Electricite de France (EdF) which will received at least 10% in South Stream. Talks on GDF SUEZ's participation in Nord Stream have continued for a year and are nearing the completion. As a result Russian projects will get additional political support, while France will have new guaranteed gas supplies. (page 1, "France emerged in South Stream")

Magna and Sberbank are planning to invest around 600 million euro in Opel facilities in Russia. The funds will mainly be used to organize an Opel car assembly facility at the Gorky car plant. The German government promised to Opel 4.5 billion euro in the form of loans or guarantees, while partners are planning to lay off around 4,000 workers in Germany. (page 1, "Russia will occupy workplaces at Opel," also Vedomosti - "From Germany to Russia").