Russian News From Russia: March 3rd, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 03.03.2009, Madrid 15:16:35.Gazprom and Gaz Natural (Spain) have signed a swap Windows to Russia!agreement concerning liquefied and pipeline gas, Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller told journalists in Madrid today. He went on to say that Spain was one of the largest gas markets in Europe, but Gazprom had so far not shipped any gas to the country because of the distance separating Russia and Spain. However, the gas giant is now hopeful to make amends through swap operations, Miller noted.

RBC, 03.03.2009, Madrid 14:59:53.Gazprom is not going penalize Ukraine for taking less gas from the pipes than projected in February 2009, the Russian energy giant’s CEO Alexei Miller said in Madrid today.

RBC, 03.03.2009, Moscow 13:36:56.Slavneft increased its C1 category oil reserves by 111.8m tonnes, with the replacement ratio reaching 570 percent. As reported by the Russian oil producer’s press office, Slavneft plans to increase its recoverable C1 category oil reserves by another 22.7m tonnes in 2009, allowing the company to replenish its resource base by over 110 percent. As a result of prospecting operations, Slavneft’s recoverable C1 and C2 category oil reserves rose by 54m tonnes and 37.2m tonnes, respectively. The company’s total investment in exploration stood at RUB 5.6bn (approx. USD 155m) in 2008.

RBC, 03.03.2009, Moscow 12:58:20.Fuel purchasing for agricultural producers should be carried out through special fuel exchanges, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told a spring sowing campaign meeting in Moscow today. “A pilot project has been planned this year to provide the agribusiness sector with fuel through a commodity exchange,” he said.

RBC, 03.03.2009, Moscow 11:11:55.Oil and gas condensate production shrank 2.1 percent to 78.46m tonnes, or 9.78m barrels per day, in January-February 2009 from the same period of the previous year, according to a statement from the Central Dispatching Department of the Fuel Energy Complex. In February alone, oil production declined 9.4 percent to 37.14m tonnes compared to January. Most oil giants showed weak operating results in February 2009 against the previous month and February 2008, experts say. Nearly all vertically integrated companies reduced output by 10 to 12 percent in February against January, except for Lukoil and Tatneft, who both announced a 9-percent rise in monthly production. Analysts trace the fall to a lack of incentive for oil companies to increase production, since the Urals price has remained below $50 per barrel. New mining tax cuts that came into effect on January 1 have also failed to contribute to a rise in oil output, experts point out. They believe that Russian energy producers have been following the example set by OPEC, which has been cutting production since January 1. On the whole, analysts view the current trend of lower oil output as a long-term economic benefit rather than a burden for Russia, saying that the joint decrease in oil production by OPEC and independent exporters, such as Russia, has actually prevented oil prices from plummeting even further.

RBC, 03.03.2009, Moscow 10:11:32.Gazprom’s net profit under IFRS grew 1.65 times to RUB 751.676bn (approx. USD 20.79bn) in the first nine months of 2008, the Russian gas monopoly said in a press release today. According to the company’s unaudited financial statement, sales revenue climbed 1.55 times to RUB 2.573 trillion (approx. USD 71.16bn), sales profit doubled to nearly RUB 1.023 trillion (approx. USD 28.29bn), and pretax profit jumped 1.66 times to some RUB 1.016 trillion (approx. USD 28.1bn). Similarly, net revenue from natural gas sales grew 49 percent to roughly RUB 1.582 trillion (approx. USD 43.75bn), while operating expenses went up 33 percent to RUB 1.55 trillion (approx. USD 42.9bn).

RBC, 02.03.2009, Tehran 19:20:22.Russia’s Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and Iran’s Petroleum Minister Qolam Hosein Nozari, as well as President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Gholam Reza Aghazadeh discussed a number of Russia-Iran oil and gas projects in Tehran today. According to the press office of the Russian Energy Ministry, Russia suggested that Iran sell part of its oil output through the St. Petersburg commodity exchange. Shmatko stressed that seeking to diversify their trade infrastructure was a cutting-edge solution for oil exporting countries.

RBC, 02.03.2009, Moscow 18:42:03.Russia’s National Wealth Fund amounted to RUB 2.996 trillion (approx. USD 83.86bn) as of March 1, 2009, the Finance Ministry reported today. The balances of currency accounts in the broke down as follows: RUB 19.39bn, USD 34.33bn, EUR 24.42bn, GBP 4.44bn, and RUB 417.1bn on deposits in Vnesheconombank.

RBC, 02.03.2009, Moscow 16:44:08.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes that it is necessary to define the targets for decreasing the budget deficit in 2010 and the years to follow. He made this statement during an economic meeting with cabinet members today. Putin pointed out that the Budget Code must see amendments in light of the need to cover the budget deficit with Reserve Fund’s money.