Russian news: December 8th, 2008!

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 17:55:43.The oil supply swap scheme agreed upon by TNK-BP, Rosneft, and Transneft will enable the companies to save up to $50m per year, TNK-BP’s Vice President Jonathan Kollek told a briefing today. He reiterated that the contract signed by the companies provided for annual supplies of 13m tonnes of oil up until 2015. He also added that the agreement allowed Rosneft to meet its obligations to China without the construction of a pipeline.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Chisinau 17:08:02.The Moldova government has revised budget parameters, increasing the estimated budget deficit by $38.1m, or five times, to $47.7m. Corresponding amendments to the bill on the republic’s budget were approved during an extraordinary cabinet meeting. Similarly, the budget’s revenue and expenditure figures were also revised, a source in the government told RBC today. The amendments provide for a 3.8-percent rise in revenue to almost $1.450bn, as well as a 6.4-percent increase in expenditures to nearly $1.548bn.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 16:22:11.Transneft and CNPC (Chinese National Petroleum Corporation), along with China Development Bank, are gearing up to resume talks on the extension of a loan to the Russian pipeline giant, chief of Transneft’s press office Igor Dyomin told RBC today. He pointed out that negotiations with China’s representatives had never actually stopped, but were simply conducted less actively. With this in mind, the parties are expected to resume active talks on Wednesday, Dyomin noted.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 15:42:00.A lack of proper control over the use of R&D results not only leads to federal budget losses, but also creates conditions for an unauthorized exchange of technology with other countries and a loss of Russia’s advantages in high tech industries, said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov at a meeting of a government commission for exports control. At the same time, however, he noted that exports control should not hinder the promotion of Russian high tech products on global markets. In this area, a flexible policy based on public-private partnership is necessary, Ivanov stressed. He added that the government, which invested huge amounts in R&D, particularly in military and dual-purpose technologies, as well as those intended for security purposes, had the right to expect certain economic benefits from such investments.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 15:32:27.Gazprom expects its foreign currency revenue from natural gas exports to non-CIS countries to amount to $64bn in 2008, the Russian energy holding’s spokesman Dmitry Semyonov said during today’s Russian oil and gas congress. He pointed out that exports to non-CIS countries would exceed 160bn cubic meters of natural gas in 2008. Meanwhile, the average export price for gas stood at $400 per 1,000 cubic meters.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 13:47:25.The Bank of Moscow plans to approach Vnesheconombank for a subordinated loan of RUB 10bn (approx. USD 356m). In addition, the bank said in a statement, it could also ask for money to refinance its external debt (roughly USD 1bn) in 2009.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 12:35:02.Russia’s natural gas exports grew 9.1 percent to 147.5bn cubic meters between January and October 2008 against the same period of the previous year, the Federal Customs Service reported today. Similarly, Russia’s revenue from gas exports jumped 69.2 percent to $55.02bn. Exports to countries outside the CIS rose 10.8 percent to 134.1bn cubic meters, whereas exports to the CIS shrank 5.6 percent to $13.4bn cubic meters.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 11:51:13.In January-October 2008, Russia decreased its oil exports by 7.44 percent to 184.543m tonnes compared to the same period a year earlier, Russia’s Federal Customs Service reported. Meanwhile, oil export revenues rose 51.2 percent to $136.7bn. Oil exports to countries outside the CIS dropped almost 8 percent to 170.2m tonnes, while revenues grew 50.8 percent to $128.26bn. Exports to the CIS inched down 0.11 percent to just shy of 14.38m tonnes of oil, while revenues jumped 57.1 percent to over $8.443bn.

RBC, 08.12.2008, Moscow 10:37:35.The postponement of loan payments in 2009 will not be free for individuals, Deputy PM and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told journalists following a government meeting on economic issues. Although debt delays are to be paid for, he added, people will be able to choose a payment schedule that is convenient for them. The minister explained that the terms of payment deferral for people who had lost a job or part of their income would be similar to those for the postponement of mortgage loans. He stressed, however, that the terms of debt restructuring would be determined separately.

RBC, 05.12.2008, Moscow 19:30:01.During today’s meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Helsinki, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia connected with Georgia’s suspension of natural gas supplies to the region.