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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Russian Natural Resources Minister Lashes Out at BP and Shell

Yuriy Trutnev20.07.2006 MosNews - On Wednesday, July 19, Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said that BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP could see a number of its licenses in Russia revoked, while simultaneously slamming Royal Dutch/Shell for cost overruns at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the coast of Sakhalin Island in the Far East. Trutnev was quoted by the Interfax agency as saying that his ministry received complaints about low production rates at 24 of TNK-BP's facilities. "All grounds exist to submit this issue to the commission for revoking licenses,” he said, according to the Russian news agency. TNK-BP spokeswoman Marina Dracheva explained that the company had inherited a high number of idle wells, which it was working to reactivate, and insisted that it had a good "working relationship” with Trutnev's ministry. "From time to time they ask businesses questions, and we can answer all these questions,” she told Associated Press. Separately, Trutnev said his ministry would investigate cost overruns that have seen the spending forecast at Shell's flagship Sakhalin-2 oil and liquefied natural gas project double. "They propose increasing the volume of investment and consequently reducing the economic effect for the Russian Federation,” Trutnev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. The increased costs mean it would be longer before state coffers see revenues from the project, a violation of the agreement under which the license was originally granted. This is not the first time that Shell has been criticized by the Russian authorities for giant cost overruns. In July last year, Shell said the expected cost of developing its oil and gas fields at Sakhalin had doubled to around $20 billion. The oil company blamed currency swings and rising prices of commodities, such as steel, for driving up the cost of the project. Shell spokesman Maxim Shupp said that he could not comment on Trutnev's remarks, but noted that the cost overruns were already in the process of being reviewed by state bodies.

Sakhalin-1 Unable to Share Future Gas

07-24-2006 Kommersant - ONGC of India put forward its own plan to sell gas under the Sakhalin-1 project, whereby the gas will be liquefied on Sakhalin-2 facilities and exported to India in the second move. But the opinion of other members of consortium, including the project operator ExxonMobil, is different. Similar to Gazprom, they think China should become the direction of first priority for the gas export. Indian ONGC suggests liquefying the Sakhalin-1 gas on facilities of Sakhalin-2 and exporting it to India after it, Reuters reported Friday referring to a source in Indian oil ministry. The negotiations with Sakhalin Energy (the project operator under Sakhalin-2) have started and will continue till July 31, the source specified. Sakhalin-1 declined to comment on the issue. Sakhalin-1 was launched under the PSA in 1996. The recoverable reserves of three fields are estimated at 307 million tons of oil and 485 billion cu meters of gas. Though the industrial production has begun, the project capacity will be reached only in 2007. Exxon Neftegaz Ltd (subsidiary of ExxonMobil) holds 30 percent in the consortium. Other members are two subsidiaries of Rosneft (20 percent on aggregate), ONGC (20 percent) and Japanese Sodeco (30 percent). It is yet unclear, how the consortium will settle its sales clashes. At present, the small amount of gas produced under Sakhalin-1 is shipped to the Khabarovsk Region. The daily output is due to step up to 7 million cu meters (2.55 billion cu meters a year) by 2010. This gas will go to domestic market as well, the more so that the parties have failed to shape the gas export program and the disputes obviously delay the elaboration.

Sinopec, BASF Expand Chinese Chemical Project

24.07.2006 12:21 - [] - China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, and Germany's chemical giant BASF has signed a 500 million U.S. dollars agreement to expand their joint chemical project in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. The site, namely BASF-YPC Co. Ltd., is one of the largest Sino-foreign petrochemical joint venture projects in China with a total investment of 2.9 billion US dollars in the first phase. Under the new agreement, the joint venture will expand the steam cracker from 600,000 to around 750,000 metric tons of ethylene p.a.; expand the ethylene oxide (EO) plant and develop EO derivatives to strengthen the ethylene value chain; develop the C4 value chain; and expand the acrylics value chain. The new activities are expected to come on stream in 2009. Both companies also agreed to integrate their second joint operation Yangzi-BASF Styrenics (YBS) in Nanjing into BASF-YPC Co.Ltd to increase efficiency and make full use of existing synergies

Novatek says natural gas production rose 13% in 1H06

Novatek [RTS ticker: NVTK], Russia's largest private natural gas producerMOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) -Novatek [RTS ticker: NVTK], Russia's largest private natural gas producer, said Friday its natural gas production in January-June 2006 had increased 13%, year-on-year, to 14.3 billion cubic meters. The company posted production of liquid hydrocarbons in the same period at 1.27 million metric tons, a 16.9%, year-on-year. In 2005, Novatek produced some 25.2 bln cu m of natural gas and 2.586 mln metric tons of gas condensate and oil. The company's charter capital, which stands at 303.63 bln rubles ($10.99 bln), is divided into 3,036,306 shares with a par value 100 rubles ($3.62) each. Novatek is the second largest gas company in Russia after energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP]. Its natural gas reserves are put at 1.6 trillion cu m and its oil reserves total an estimated 259 mln metric tons. Gazprom said last month that it was planning to buy a 20% stake in Novatek from the company's main shareholders in a deal, slated to be completed by August

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

OAO TATNEFT: Operational Activity during H1 2006

19/07/2006 RZD News - The General Director of OAO TATNEFT Sh. F. Takhautdinov presented a report on the results of the Company’s activity during the first half of the current year and he also briefly reviewed the steps to be taken to further enhance the production efficiency. OAO TATNEFT produced over 12.7 million tons of crude oil during the period of 6 months. Over 45% of the total production volume had been extracted through application of the up-to-date methods of oil recovery enhancement. The total production at the scale of the whole Republic of Tatarstan amounted to 15.6 million tons of crude oil. Tatneft-Burenye (Drilling) Company penetrated 385 thousand meters of rock including 110 thousand meters for Joint Ventures and independent oil companies. The program of developing and introducing new technologies in well constriction has been continued allowing for quite noticeable increase of their production rates. 10 multibranch downhole splitters have been drilled, 4 wells have been drilled with application of underbalanced drilling (UBD), and radial drilling technology has been applied at 12 wells, reports TATNEFT press-service.

Kremlin Has No Say in Setting Prices of Russian Gas - Putin

Vladimir Putin / Image by MosNews17.07.2006 MosNews - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday, July 16, that the price of Russian natural gas is determined by the market, not by the Kremlin. "We have seen the end of the time when we set prices for our partners," Putin told a news conference on the second day of the G8 summit. "The market now determines everything." "I cannot imagine a more transparent mechanism," he said. He also said that the more stability there was in the energy sphere, the more stable prices would be. He said that fighting in the Middle East and natural disasters in both South and North America had contributed to high oil prices. "But we, I would like to stress again, we are targeting our work toward minimizing risks and that means stabilizing prices," Putin said. Russia has been accused of using gas prices to blackmail its neighbors, such as Ukraine and Georgia, for turning pro-Western. Gazprom and Russian authorities claim that they selling gas for market prices and that they simply don't want to subsidize the economies of their neighbors.

German Chancellor Merkel Has No Fears of Energy Dependence on Russia

Angela Merkel / Photo: AP17.07.2006 MosNews - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, July 17, that her country has no fears about its dependence on energy supplies from Russia. Merkel was speaking at the international press center of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. "It is true that today Germany and other European countries form their dependence on energy supplies from Russia and other countries. In the course of discussions at the G8 summit, the issue of relations between Russia and Germany, Russia and Europe in this sphere was not discussed," Merkel said, quoted by RIA Novosti. She added: "I have said numerous times that Russia, and before it the Soviet Union, has always been a reliable supplier." Despite its reliance on Russia as the energy supplier, Germany is currently considering the issue of diversification of its energy sources.

CNPC buys $500 million worth of Rosneft shares

BEIJING. July 19 (Interfax) - China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has bought 66.2252 million shares of the Russian oil company Rosneft for $500 million, a source with the CNPC management told Interfax Wednesday. "Earlier reports disseminated by a number of media outlets alleging that the CNPC was willing to invest $3 billion in Rosneft shares are rumors and are untrue," the source said. CNPC bought the stock during Rosneft's recent IPO, the source said. "We did not have doubts about buying the shares. CNPC's participation in Rosneft's IPO meets the interests of both sides and is a sign of the strategic nature of our cooperation," the source said. CNPC is satisfied with the results of the deal, in which it took part at the Russian company's invitation, the source said. "Our corporation and Rosneft signed a long-term cooperation agreement in July 2005, which laid the foundation for mutually advantageous interaction," he said. "Having received an invitation from the Russian oil company, CNPC put together a group of specialists, who examined the terms and conditions and, based on their analysis and the corporation's strategic development objectives, notified Rosneft of its plans to buy the shares," he said. "In this project, CNPC has been guided by the need to provide support to Rosneft as its partner and its interest in expanding and deepening mutually advantageous long-term cooperation between the two oil companies," he said. Negotiations between the two companies concerned primarily the share price, to be in the range between $5.85 and $7.85. In the end, CNPC paid $7.55 per share, which "meets our plans and interests," he said. During Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing, CNPC and Rosneft reached an agreement on the joint exploration and development of oil fields in Russian territory, the joint construction of oil refineries and the sale of their products in China, he said. "Along with the purchase of Rosneft shares by the Chinese side, this shows that relations between the two companies have entered a new phase of cooperation," the CNPC source said.

Rosneftegaz' revenue from Rosneft's IPO disclosed

RBC, 18.07.2006, Moscow 19:59:56.The net revenue of Rosneftegaz from Rosneft's IPO (excluding the commission charges) will exceed $8.392bn, Rosneft's official documents read. Rosneft itself will raise over $1.891bn from the IPO after commission fees. The company intends to allocate the funds received forits investment program and general expenses, while Rosneftegaz will pay its debt.

Economics ministry to submit oil product exchange draft by September

MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Wednesday it would submit a draft resolution on an oil product exchange to the government by September. President Vladimir Putin said on May 10 that Russia, as a leading oil exporting nation, should establish its own oil exchange to trade crude and petroleum products in rubles. "This will be a draft resolution under which state procurement companies will be directed to the exchange," the ministry said. The ministry said government procurement companies from the Defense Ministry, agriculture and the thermal power sector would possibly have to purchase petroleum products on the exchange as early as from January 1, 2007. But the ministry said the oil product exchange would not cover all government purchases. "At the first stage, they will purchase 20% of the total volume of fuel on the exchange," the ministry said. "After that, volumes will be increased, taking into account experimental trading. But they [government purchases] will hardly reach 100% on the exchange. The exchange will not absorb the entire market - the government will continue to make purchases at tenders and auctions." The ministry said oil product exchanges could be created in several large regions at the first stage and the list of these bourses could be expanded afterward but the rules of trading should be unified. The ministry also said oil product exchanges could subsequently develop derivatives in the form of futures and options.

Subsoil use bill hinges on freeing foreign investment-minister-1

MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Adds paragraphs 5-12 -
Work on drafting a law on subsoil use is directly dependent on the lifting of restrictions on foreign investor access to Russia's strategic sectors, the natural resources minister said Wednesday. "The law limiting foreigners' access to strategic sectors and the law on subsoil use are interrelated," Yury Trutnev said. He said foreign investment was a political issue. "How we treat foreigners is to be determined not only by the Natural Resources Ministry, but there should also be a political decision on the matter," he said. President Vladimir Putin said in June that Russia planned to impose restrictions on access to large deposits of mineral resources, but did not mean to deny foreign companies access to them. He said restrictions did not mean foreign companies would have no access to deposits that could be classified as "strategic," but that the state should have greater control over them. Foreign companies are currently allowed to hold no more than 49.5% in projects involving "strategic" deposits - primarily in the energy sphere, but also including metals such as gold and copper. The list of the deposits, which is yet to be completed, is part of a bill currently being considered on Russia's mineral reserves. The bill says the state has the sole right to sell or transfer subsoil exploration licenses and that exploration rights should be sold primarily through auctions. It also includes provisions establishing bond security and transferability of rights mechanisms, and limiting subsoil contract rights in favor of Russian companies. Trutnev said earlier that the definition of volumes of strategic deposits should be adjusted downwards from the proposed levels, which stand at 75 billion cubic meters for natural gas, and 150 million metric tons (1.1 billion bbl) for oil. He said his ministry suggested making the starting point for strategic oil deposits 70 million tons (514.5 million bbl), whereas the figures for natural gas and gold should be 50 billion cubic meters and 50 tons, respectively. Putin also said Russia would seek long-term contracts in the sphere.

Moscow has always respected the interests of Europe as a hydrocarbon consumer

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti economic commentator Nina Kulikova) - Disputes between Russia and the West in the energy sector are getting worse, as the two sides are showing different approaches to energy security. Russia's G8 partners are mainly energy importers, and they view the problem as consumers, while Russia is compelled to protect its rights as a producer and supplier. All this brings about a lot of disagreement. The EU countries are expressing their doubts about the reliability of current energy supplies, and they are trying to diversify energy supply sources and delivery routes. Russia, in turn, is trying to protect its own economic interests and has unveiled plans to step up energy supplies to the Asia-Pacific region. Russian Presidential Aide Igor Shuvalov says that Russia must be certain that it will be able to sell its product. He believes that the diversification of supplies should be a two-way street open to both consumers and producers. Russia and its G8 partners are also looking at energy market liberalization from a different perspective. The West is complaining that Russia's tough laws serve as barriers to foreign investment, and is insisting that Russia should grant foreigners access to its energy sector. Karen Harbert, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, stressed that in the U.S.'s view, the Russian energy sector is experiencing a shortage of foreign investment due to the current legislative restrictions. The Russian authorities, in turn, are reproaching their partners for their unwillingness to allow Russian companies access to their own markets. "At present we do not feel that G8 countries and companies are ready to amend their own legislation so as to enable Russian companies to make investments in the West," said Shuvalov. Another stumbling block between Russia and the European G8 members is the ratification of the Energy Charter. According to Marc Franco, head of the European Commission delegation to Moscow, the best way to ensure energy security is to ratify the Charter, which provides access to reserves and infrastructure, creates a competitive environment and raises efficiency. But Moscow insists on the need to modify the document before ratifying it, since the Energy Charter's transit protocol does not take into account Russian interests and is not suited to the current market conditions. It's small wonder that Russia and the West have different interpretations of the term 'energy security'. But according to Vladislav Surkov, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration, while Russia's partners view energy security as having full control over Russian pipelines and its mineral wealth, Russia has a different understanding. The Russian authorities underscore that Moscow has always respected the interests of Europe as a hydrocarbon consumer. Russian gas has been delivered to Europe for more than 40 years. As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, despite its own political and economic turmoil in the early and mid-nineties, Russia has never allowed any disruptions in energy supplies. That is why Moscow seems to expect that its interests as an energy supplier should also be respected. So far, energy security has been understood by many as the energy independence of a country. Such an approach has intensified global competition for resources and given rise to many conflicts. Meanwhile the great number of threats to energy security, which have become global a long time ago, should have made the parties start formulating a global concept of it. Global demand for energy resources is growing at a faster rate than investment in the energy sector, primarily because of the high growth rates sustained by developing countries (China, India, and others), which are becoming more dependent on energy imports. According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), in the next 25 years energy consumption will grow by 65%, with an annual growth rate of 1.7 %. The problem of energy poverty is also being exacerbated. According to OPEC, at present about 2 billion people do not have sufficient access to energy, and the need to combat energy poverty is becoming more pressing. In addition to this, instability in the Middle East, environmental problems, terrorism, climate changes and depletion of resources may only intensify the challenges posed by energy security. That is why the need to create a global energy system that would minimize the risks of growing threats is evident. Russia, in the framework of its G8 presidency, is advocating the position that energy security is not only the protection of the consumer against the supplier: it is the protection of mutual interests, which provides for stable cooperation between the parties. According to the Russian president, Russia wants to pool the efforts of the international community to tackle a whole range of energy issues. Among them are overcoming the imbalance between demand and supply, making general commitments in the energy sector with voluntary sharing of profits and risks, and building a global energy network to prevent conflicts. Global energy security should be based on the principles of long-term, reliable, environmentally-friendly energy supplies at reasonable and economically viable prices, according to Putin. When there are favorable political conditions and we all understand that our security requires mutual involvement in the process, we will make appropriate amendments to our laws without trying to secure national priorities. Instead, we will give each other the chance to invest in each other's economies, says Shuvalov. He adds that we should build a system where all players, both suppliers and consumers, have their own commercial interests but are also interested in their partners' success. The question of whether all these arguments are acceptable to Russia's G8 partners is still open, but there is a chance that the leaders of the world's foremost economies will at least listen to them. First, there is a growing trend towards integration in the global energy system, where Russia is objectively one of the leaders because it has one of the world's largest reserves of fuel and other energy resources. This will enable Russia to commit itself to providing global energy security. Second, the feature of Russian economic development is such that the country is balancing between the desire to pursue a great-power economic policy and the danger of turning into an underdeveloped supplier of commodities to the developed world. Though Russia has not yet become the latter, this danger is still realistic. Russia is not yet an industrially developed country, though it has all the conditions necessary to one day be one. That is why, on the one hand, Russia well understands the characteristics of a commodities-based economy and does not wish to turn into one, while, on the other hand, it can clearly see all the challenges and opportunities presented by strong economic growth and is able to come up with realistic proposals for global energy security.

G8 summit: new understanding of global energy security

07-20-2006 Andrei Kolesnikov, RIA Novosti political commentator - The summit adopted one of its key documents -- a declaration on global energy security - at the time when the price of Brent crude oil skyrocketed to $78.08 per barrel. After adjustments for inflation, this figure is below the record prices of the global crisis in the early 1970s, when the idea of energy security was born, or the peak of the early 1980s shock. But in a way, this event symbolized the urgency of the declaration. The latter contains all major global concerns and fears - high and volatile oil prices; the growing demand for energy, driven by the expanding global economy (the declaration predicts that by 2030 demand will increase by more than 50%, and 80% of it will come from fossil fuels); depletion of non-renewable energy resources, which currently meet 86% of global energy requirements; geopolitical risks (60% of proven oil reserves are in the Middle East); political instability in some oil-producing countries (attacks on foreign oil refineries in Nigeria, or nationalization of the oil and gas industry in some Latin American countries); and, finally, natural disasters. This is a conservative list of risks and threats, and it is far from complete. Steadily growing prices for all energy sources are creating a new economic reality. Obvious inflation risks are one of its features. High prices are bound to push up interest rates in the U.S. and Europe, making reliability of fuel supplies a vital element of energy security. But even if energy supplies are secure, there is also the risk of non-renewable fuels going into a headlong decline. However, this fear may be highly exaggerated. The declaration proceeds from the premise that fossil fuel reserves are limited. However, the BP's latest Statistical Review of World Energy shows that global proven oil and gas reserves continue growing. In his recent interview with Kommersant, Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chairman Daniel Yergin said that this is the fifth time in modern history he has heard talk of declining oil reserves. He does not believe that this is the case - it all boils down to the price that consumers are willing to pay. Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf thinks that fossil fuel reserves will last for at least half a century, if not longer. The G8 declaration lays emphasis on the same point: "Large-scale use of renewable energy will make a significant contribution to long-term energy supply without an adverse impact on the climate. Renewable solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal energies are becoming increasingly competitive with conventional fuels in terms of cost, and a wide variety of current applications are already cost-effective." Peter Davis, Chief Economist at BP, noted the growing interest in wind energy, ethanol, and hydro energy. In 2005 the latter registered a 4.2% global growth. It is obvious that in 20, 30, or 50 years the world's energy basket will be very different from the current one, in which most space is occupied by oil and gas and less than 2% by renewable energy sources. But politicians and energy experts also have more immediate concerns, and the general implication of the summit's energy topic was easy to see: Russia is interested in "the growing interdependence of producing, consuming and transiting countries." In other words, the security of energy producers is no less important than that of energy consumers, and reliability of supplies is as important as guaranteed long-term demand. This is why Russia attaches so much importance to the exchange of assets between foreign and Russian companies. The declaration has recognized the significance of forming a partnership to resolve potential problems in the triangle of producing, consuming, and transiting countries, but that's about it. Exchange of assets will be discussed outside the G8 summit. This issue has economic, political, and even diplomatic aspects. Now Russia will be able to quote the declaration on energy security in future debates.

Rosneft to start trading on LSE, MICEX

MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Trading of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft's shares starts Wednesday in London after the High Court dismissed a legal challenge mounted by Yukos. The London Stock Exchange will start free trading of Rosneft GDRs at 7 a.m. GMT, an LSE official said. Trading of Rosneft's shares started Monday on the Russian Trading System (RTS) and also is set to be launched on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) Wednesday. Rival company Yukos sought the injunction on the grounds that 70% of Rosneft's value came from the forced sale of its own core assets and that the floatation would therefore amount to money laundering under the United Kingdom's Proceeds of Crime Act. The state-owned Russian group became the nation's No. 3 crude producer after embattled Yukos had its main production unit - Yuganskneftegaz - sold off to pay huge back tax bills. Rosneft closed the books Friday on its initial public offering - the biggest in Russian history - placing 1.4 billion ordinary shares (GDRs abroad) in Moscow and London with a total worth of $10.4 billion. Demand had the following structure: strategic investors - 21%, international investors from the U.S., Europe and Asia - 36%, Russian investors - 39%, Russian retail investors - 4%. With its value put at $79.8 billion and the price of its shares at $7.55, Rosneft's IPO is expected to bring in $10.4 billion, and will be the largest in the Russian corporate history. The company will have 13% of its stock (1.38 billion shares) formally listed on the London Stock Exchange and Russian bourses last week. Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov said Sunday that three strategic investors had subscribed for $3 billion of the company's shares. He said that U.K.-based BP had subscribed for $1 billion worth of shares, Malaysian oil company Petronas for $1.5 billion, and China National Petroleum Corporation for $500 million.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Spanish, US investors take Russia to court over "damaged" Yukos investment

Image by MosNews11.07.2006 - MosNews - U.S. attorneys have begun arbitration proceedings in Spain against Russian authorities on behalf of Spanish investors who claim they were damaged by the forced sale of oil company Yukos to its rival, state-owned Rosneft Oil Company, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, July 11. Thomas Johnson, a lawyer at Covington & Burling representing U.S. shareholders and an unnamed Spanish fund, said a bilateral investment treaty would require Russia to submit to compulsory arbitration in response to the claim by the Spanish investor. "The Russians have been told to expect extensive litigation," the FT quoted Johnson as saying. "The actions of the Russian Federatopm with respect to Yukos have cost foreign investors between $20 billion and $40 billion." As MosNews has reported, Rosneft is currently preparing for an IPO in London and Russia, which is set to take place on Friday, July 14. The IPO could value the group at up to $80 billion.

Bush Tells Europe to Avoid Dependence of Russian Energy Resources

12.07.2006 - MosNews - U.S. President George W. Bush has suggested European countries would be wise to diversify dependence on Russia's energy resources so they don't have to worry about supply, Canadian Press agency reported. In a round table meeting with foreign journalists, which took place on Monday, July 10, Bush refused to be drawn directly into criticism that Russia is sliding on democratic reforms and intimidating Europeans with its vast supplies of oil and natural gas. "I think each nation or each group of nations has to make their own national security calculations," said Bush, who's attending the Group of Eight meeting this week in Russia with Canada and other top industrialized countries. But he pointed out that the United States is considering more nuclear power and spending billions on technological breakthroughs, including hydrogen research, so future presidents will be able to say: "I no longer have to worry about a single source of supply, I no longer have to worry about disruption, I no longer have to worry about politics." "The world needs to go there, in my own judgment," he said. "I view security as diversification away from a particular source of energy that may be the cause of the worry about insecurity in the first place," said Bush, who will have dinner and hold a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin before the summit in St. Petersburg starts Saturday, July 15.

Rosneft Closes Books

07-12-2006 Kommersant - This evening, the state oil firm, Rosneft, will close the IPO books both for individuals and institutional investors, despite the previous intention to accept the bids of the latter till July 13. Those willing to invest in Rosneft are apparently not few in number. The company decided to place 400 million new stocks in addition to the stocks offered by Rosneftegaz. The books' closing is scheduled for this evening, Steven O'Sullivan, who is in charge of the analytical department at Deutsche UFG, said yesterday in time of the telephone conference. The information was confirmed by three sources close to book-runners. For institutional investors, the decision hasn't been made yet, said Rosneft spokesman Nikolay Manvelov. The official plan was to close the individual book on July 10 (but it was put off till today), while the institutional investors had the July 13 deadline. Closing books before the announced deadline doesn't happen often in general and is unique for Russia. The company may shorten the road show if the stocks are popular and it has amassed sufficient number of bids, explained UBS analyst Kakha Kiknavelidze. It is not just over-subscription. It is that exactly the institutional investors, which Rosneft would like to see among holders, have lodged the bids, a source close to book-runners shed light on Rosneft decision. The institutional investors (including CNPC, ONGC, Petronas and BP, perhaps), could have hardly been lured by the petty shares in Rosneft. According to Deutsche UFG, Rosneft will probably become the leader of Russia's oil production, but the dividend will remain moderate for a number of years. More likely than not, investing in Rosneft IPO will pave the way for future foreign holders to the market of Russia. And it appears those willing to have the green light are not few in number. Rosneft decided to place 400 million new stocks in addition to the stocks offered by Rosneftegaz [1.356 billion], Interfax quoted a source close to Rosneft.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

OPEC Backs Up Putin - Miller

07-12-2006 Kommersant - OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo lashed out at the oil consumers yesterday. The energy security should be viewed on both sides, the security of deliveries and security of demand, Barkindo said, echoing the main thesis of Russia in the gas challenge with Europe. So, the Putin-Miller doctrine is gaining popularity with other suppliers of energy resources. At present, the soaring demand is one of the key factors that make crude prices so skyrocketing. But the supply may exceed the demand already in 2010, Barkindo specified. And everything will be a bit different then. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produces 42 percent of the world crude but covers no more than 11 percent of processing. Should OPEC boost the output, the price control would go to refineries and OPEC influence would slide on the high supply of crude. Russia's economy will easily endure the drop in crude prices up to $30 and even to $25, said Sergey Ignatyev, chairman of Central Bank of Russia (CBR). But other analysts are not so optimistic. They forecast that in addition to budget deficit, Russia's payment balance will worsen materially and the losses of gold/foreign exchange reserves will be hefty. The rates or economy growth will decline up to complete stagnation.

World Bank - Russia needs more investment

07-12-2006 RBC News - Investment in the Russian economy currently stands at 18 percent of the GDP, Kristalina Georgieva, Director for the World Bank Russia program, said at an annual national business forum on Tuesday.
She said a lack of investment impeded Russia's economic growth and affected its macroeconomic stability. Georgieva put the required level of investment at 25 percent of the GDP. She defined corruption, low quality of workforce, restricted competition and problems with Russia's judicial system as the key problems faced by Russian business in 2002-2005. Georgieva also said that the part of the Stabilization Fund called the "Fund for Future Generation" should only be invested in the event of a budget deficit. It would be economically unfeasible to spend it under existing conditions, she said. Foreign direct investment in the Russian economy totaled $14 billion in the first half of 2006, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said on Tuesday. According to the State Statistics Service, foreign direct investment in the Russian economy in the first quarter stood at $3.845 billion, twice as much as in the same period of 2004. Total foreign investment in the first quarter amounted to $8.8 billion. Accumulated foreign investment in the Russian economy was $113.8 billion at the end of March 2006. The inflow of capital reached $18 billion in the second quarter of this year, Zhukov said. The capital inflow in the first half of the year was at a record high, he said, noting that Russia had had an outflow of capital for many years. The positive result made Russia more attractive to foreign investors, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.

Former YUKOS chief's pardon unlikely without preconditions, Putin says

RBC, 12.07.2006, Moscow 16:22:07.Certain preconditions must be met before Mikhail Khodorkovsky can be granted an amnesty, Russian President Vladimir Putin told French television channel TF-1. Any person, irrespective of their official position or capital they may have accumulated, must follow and abide by the law, he stressed. The state is an enforcement vehicle established to ensure equal conditions for all of its citizens - equal conditions for development and achievement of success, Putin said. The so-called "oligarchs", according to him, are those that had taken advantage of the transition period in the country's economy and legal system and who, by circumventing national and majority interests had amassed billions worth of capital by unlawful means. And if such a fact is proven in court, they must bear the responsibility for it, the Russian President maintained. He agreed that a possibility for amnesty, as well as other similar procedures to reduce an imprisonment term, was envisaged in the law, adding that it could be put to use within the terms of the current legislation.

Sakhalin Energy to supply LNG to Japan for 15 years

MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - Sakhalin Energy will supply half a million metric tons of liquefied natural gas annually to Japan for 15 years, the company's press office said Wednesday. Sakhalin Energy, a Dutch-British-Japanese venture, which operates the Sakhalin-II energy project and is developing two vast fields off the island of Sakhalin in Russia's Far East that hold estimated recoverable reserves of 150 million metric tons of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of gas, signed a LNG deal with Japan's Chubu Electric Power Co. Wednesday. Sakhalin Energy Commercial Director Ate Visser said the company's management was glad that it had reached an agreement with Chubu Electric on liquefied natural gas supplies under the Sakhalin-II project, and hoped for long-term cooperation with the Japanese partner. Sakhalin Energy said LNG deliveries were expected to start in April 2011. Sakhalin Energy will supply liquefied natural gas to Japan from a LNG facility, which it is building on the island of Sakhalin. The facility will have a capacity of 9.6 million metric tons a year, Sakhalin Energy said. "The conclusion of today's agreement strengthens the positions of Sakhalin as a new strategic source of natural gas deliveries to Japan and shows that the Asia-Pacific region is becoming a new major sales market for Russian gas," Sakhalin Energy said in a statement. Sakhalin Energy said it was continuing talks with Chubu Electric to agree on the terms of gas purchase and sale.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TNK-BP: Tax Claims Total $2Bln

July 11, 2006 - The Moscow Times - TNK-BP on Monday declined to confirm a Vedomosti report that back tax claims against the oil major amounted to $2.33 billion. "The total back tax claims add up to 53 billion rubles," said company spokeswoman Marina Dracheva. The sum, according to the current Central Bank rate, equates to $1.97 billion. The disputed amount is the sum of back tax claims against TNK-BP and its subsidiaries for 2001-03, with the most recent back tax claims against the oil major and its subsidiary Sidanko for 2002 and 2003 brought in December 2005 and February 2006. The company has previously admitted to receiving these tax bills. Most claims are being disputed by TNK-BP. It was not immediately clear whether the discrepancy in the figures quoted by Dracheva and Vedomosti was due to fluctuations in the ruble-dollar exchange rate or because new tax claims had been presented to the company. Vedomosti on Monday cited an investment prospectus of TNK-BP International, the parent company of TNK-BP, and the earnings report for 2005. In May, TNK-BP said it had made a provision in its budget for 35.1 billion rubles, or $1.3 billion at the current Central Bank rate, to be used for back taxes and penalty payments. According to Dracheva, the provision was made after both the company and its auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers agreed that the amount would be the most the company could face in penalties and taxes. Vedomosti said TNK-BP had set aside $1.5 billion for possible back tax payments as of Dec. 31, 2005.

Financial Times: Abramovich Bidding for Rosneft

07-11-2006 The San. Petersburg Time - MOSCOW - Billionaire Roman Abramovich has placed a bid for a stake in Rosneft, giving a boost to the Russian oil group's planned initial public offering, the Financial Times newspaper said Saturday. The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the details, said Abramovich made the bid earlier last week. It was likely to have been for several hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares, it said. Rosneft is planning to raise $11 billion from an initial public offering of between 13 and 19 percent of its stock in London and Moscow on July 14. The Financial Times said a spokesman for Abramovich declined to comment. Rosneft has received offers from investors valuing it at about $65 billion, The Business said Sunday. The newspaper cited an unidentified person involved in the initial public offering, who said the valuation may be $2.5 billion higher or lower than the $65 billion figure. Investors may have already subscribed for as many as one and a half times as many shares as are being offered, the person was cited as saying. Rosneft management had hoped for a valuation of about $80 billion, but $65 billion is in line with what the company's banks had expected, The Business said. Companies including BP, Chinese groups China National Petroleum Corp. and Sinopec and India's ONGC have all made nonbinding expressions of interest, Vedomosti reported Friday, citing unidentified banking sources. Vedomosti also said Russian tycoons, including Abramovich, had been approached to throw their weight behind the offering. M.S. Srinivasan, India's petroleum minister, said ONGC was considering an investment of $3 billion, Dow Jones Newswires reported. BP declined to comment, while representatives of the Chinese companies were not immediately available on Friday. Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas has also said it was considering participating in the IPO. "The market cap of Rosneft will be around $60 billion. Our investment will be roughly for a 5 percent stake," India's Srinivasan said.

Monday, July 10, 2006

LUKoil mulls $2.5-billion refinery project in Turkey

ANKARA, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - LUKoil (RTS: LKOH), Russia's no.1 crude producer, is planning to invest $2-2.5 billion in the construction of an oil refinery in Turkey, Turkish media have reported. A Turkish newspaper said Sunday LUKoil Vice President Nikolai Cherny had discussed with Turkish energy officials the construction of an oil refinery with annual production capacity of 8-10 million tons (73.5 million bbl) in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak. The newspaper said the Russian company was planning to create a joint venture with Turkish and Kazakh companies to refine crude produced in Russia and Kazakhstan. LUKoil, which is 17% owned by U.S. giant ConocoPhillips, said June 28 that its U.S. GAAP net profit had risen 51.7% year-on-year in 2005 to $6.44 billion. According to Turkish media, the Russian company also plans to obtain a license to operate a network of gasoline stations in the country.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

China's top oil firm looking at 3-billion-dollar stake in Rosneft: reports

BEIJING, July 5, 2006 (AFP) - China National Petroleum Corp may buy up to three billion dollars worth of shares in the initial public offering (IPO) of Russian state-owned oil group Rosneft, press reports said Wednesday. CNPC, the country's largest oil group, is one of at least four major foreign energy firms Rosneft is talking to ahead of its IPO that will raise as much as 11.6 billion dollars (8.75 billion euros), the Financial Times reported. The oil companies were offered the chance to buy stakes worth between one billion and two billion dollars, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the discussions. CNPC replied to the offer by saying it would like to invest up to three billion dollars, the newspaper reported. The South China Morning Post newspaper also said CNPC wanted to invest up to three billion dollars in Rosneft but only if it offered something substantial in return about accessing energy resources in Russia. One of the options put forward by CNPC was an expansion of an existing long-term contract for Rosneft to supply crude oil to CNPC, the Hong Kong newspaper said, citing an unidentified source. Another reported option was allowing CNPC to take part in the development of Rosneft's Vankor oilfield in eastern Siberia. "Just investing three billion dollars for a five percent stake is not exciting," the newspaper cited the source as saying. "There has to be something attached to that." CNPC officials declined to comment on the reports. A decision on CNPC's possible role must be made quickly if Rosneft is to meet its goal of selling shares in Moscow and London by the middle of the month. Malaysian national oil company Petronas confirmed on Monday it was considering acquiring a stake Rosneft but did not give any details about its potential investment. Rosneft's listing has attracted growing controversy because of the company's business background. Its fallen rival Yukos has asked the British markets watchdog to block the IPO because it says Rosneft stole its assets. China has been on a global energy investment blitz in recent years as it seeks fuel to power an economy growing at around 10 percent a year. China won its first Russian oil industry foothold last month with the purchase by Sinopec, the nation's second biggest oil firm, of a major subsidiary to Russian-British oil group TNK-BP. bur-kma/bmm

Analysts optimistic about Rosneft IPO prospects

RBC, 05.07.2006, Moscow 09:54:37.Analysts are quite optimistic in their estimates of the potential outcome of Rosneft's IPO, which offers the prospects of becoming an all-time greatest debut made on the market by a Russian company. Experts believe Rosneft may raise at least $9.5bn from floating its 1.356bn shares (the maximum allowed by the government). An RBC analysts reckons this feasible considering that Rosneft's IPO is drawing interest from large Chinese and Indian companies, as well as institutional investors. At the same time, based on the upper limit of the price range of between $5.85 and $7.85 per share set for Rosneft's IPO, the maximum amount Rosneftegaz may raise is $10.6bn. Meanwhile, analysts consider Rosneft's fair market share price to be $7.1, which would bring the total up to $9.6bn. At the same time, it is not ruled out that the price may be as low as $6.27 per share with a potential to further rise to $7.13. The most optimistic analysts also estimate that Rosneft may raise as much as $11.6bn from the floatation.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Russia Sets Its Energy Agenda Ahead of G8 Summit

Evian-G8.gif21.06.2006 - Reuters - Russia is holding out against its European partners' demand that it agrees to energy trading rules proposed by the European Union. The energy issue will become the crunch question for the G8 summit, which Russia is set to host in St. Petersburg next month. Russia's ambition to boost uranium exports to fuel nuclear power plants in the European Union is also shaping up as a new issue for the St. Petersburg gathering in mid-July that will cast the spotlight on Russia's role as an emerging energy superpower. The negotiation on a broad energy cooperation blueprint pits EU hopes of seeing free energy markets against Russian determination to keep control of the aces in its pack: world-class natural resources and a huge pipeline network. The EU wants to lock Russia into the Energy Charter treaty to ensure a level playing field for energy players in Russia, where state gas firm Gazprom uses its monopoly to hold sway over 25 percent of EU gas supplies. The Charter promotes transparent energy trade and guarantees "free transit" of energy across members' territory. Russia has signed it. But its parliament, which usually acts on a nod from the Kremlin, has yet to ratify it and is not likely to do so before the summit. The July 15-17 meeting brings together leaders of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Diplomats expect Russia to pay lip service to Charter principles at the summit, without giving anything away. "You would have no ambiguity any more on the priority of rules applying in energy trade (if Russia ratified)," said Andre Mernier, head of the Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels. "That would tremendously increase confidence in Russia." EU nations have rallied to demand Russian ratification since January, when Gazprom shocked Europe by briefly disrupting gas flows along a key pipeline to win a pricing row with Ukraine. Gazprom blames Ukraine for the crisis and says its actions, as a treaty member, are proof the treaty is no use. President Vladimir Putin, likely also to face attack from some G8 states for his record on democracy, added to controversy on Tuesday, June 20. He suggested observing the Charter would depend on Russia's relations with a country at any particular time. "We are ready to do this (observe the Charter), but not for each and everyone, but only with those of our partners who meet us half way and with whom we can reach agreement on cooperation based on equal rights," he said. Russia's main objection is the Charter would enable EU gas importers to negotiate prices directly with rising Central Asian suppliers like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Their gas flows through Gazprom's pipelines, allowing it to call the shots. Gazprom is also worried the treaty may make it share access to a pipeline it is building under the Baltic Sea to Germany. Western diplomats say the Russians fear that ratification could also strengthen shareholders of fallen oil giant Yukos who are suing Russia for more than $30 billion. "It's hard to see where their motivation to ratify the treaty may come from," said one EU diplomat. Russia would take some convincing of the value of free markets in energy, he said. Many of the disputed areas are governed by the Treaty's Transit Protocol, which is still at the draft stage. Diplomats say they've been here before: Russia spent years dallying over ratification of another pact, the Kyoto Protocol, before suddenly agreeing to it. The situation is fraught with legal ambiguities. Even without ratification, Russia may already be subject to the treaty, since under its terms a mere signature makes it binding unless it cuts across national legislation. Russia meanwhile is rushing through a law to ensure there is a "single channel" of gas exports, enshrining Gazprom's position in law and holding the treaty at bay. Officials say Russia feels the treaty would do nothing to further Gazprom's quest to get involved in marketing gas all over Europe, since it focuses on trade, not distribution. Gazprom has already run up against political opposition to a possible acquisition of British gas distributor Centrica. Nor would it help Russia in another disputed area: uranium. The EU limits Russian uranium imports —- most of it going to fuel nuclear plants —- to 20 percent of the market and has promised to lift the quota to 25 percent to meet demand from new EU states such as Slovakia. But Russia is after an even bigger share of the pie and wants to get rid of the quota. "The argument in the EU is that if we ourselves totally depend on Russia for the supply of (uranium fuel) rods, we might face a problem in the future," one EU official said. Putin last month said Russia would hold off ratification until it had got a satisfactory deal on uranium quotas. Russia is also pushing for more access to the U.S. uranium market. The United States has anti-dumping measures in place to prevent a flood of Russian uranium swamping its market, but has exempted Cold War stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Russia wants HEU exports, which provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity, extended beyond the exemption's expiry in 2013.

Asia Responds to Rosneft Summons

China’s CNPC Undecided on How Many Rosneft Shares to BuyMalaysian Petronas May Buy Rosneft SharesJuly 03, 2006 Kommersant - Rosneft is in talks with oil giants urging them to invest in the IPO. The respective negotiations are underway with British BP, British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Indian ONGC, China's CNPC and Malaysian Petronas. Petronas, CNPC and ONGC manifest the greatest interest, but Europe is far from abuzz. Rosneft has offered some foreign companies to buy out its stocks through IPO, expecting each of them to invest from $0.5 billion to $1 billion, foreign mass media reported Friday. Some sources say BP was proposed up to $2-billion worth, i.e. up to 3.75 percent in the non-consolidated Rosneft. But it contradicts the promise of Rosneft President Sergey Bogdanchikov that no investor would consolidate more than 2 percent in the company. According to other sources, the offer doesn't exceed $1 billion. Shell was proposed, for instance, to funnel between $500 million to $1 million into the IPO. BP and Shell didn't confirm negotiations or even the mere interest in Rosneft stocks. If BP and Shell don't get inspired by Rosneft IPO, its stocks could go, for instance, to Malaysian Petronas and Brazilian Petrobras, The Business reported. Both companies are said to be ready to invest from $500 million to $1 billion, which is in line with the 2 percent ceiling stipulated by Bogdanchikov. At the same time, Indian ONGC Videsh made clear to the Kremlin it is willing to acquire up to 5 percent in Rosneft by investing around $4 billion, The Financial Express of India reported referring to a source on the local market. In return, ONGC wants the access to Sakhalin-3 project, Vankor field or Timano-Pechora oil and gas fields. Rosneft declined to comment on the talks. The order book has been over-subscribed, Interfax reported.

Monday, July 03, 2006

TNK-BP to invest up to USD 1bn in Yamalo-Nenets region until 2012

03.07.2006 IntelliNews Today - According to TNK-BP's representatives, the company may invest up to USD 1bn until 2012 in development of the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous Region fields. The company plans to launch active development of the region's most interesting Russkoe field within 2-3 years. Currently, the new phase of the field's geologic exploration starts. According to estimations, the field is one of Russia's largest with proven reserves of some 410mn tones of oil. Some analysts claim that TNK-BP will need to invest more that it intends, as about USD 1.5bn will be needed only for drilling and maintaining of some 20 rifts of the field due to harsh climate.

Tatneft Pulls Out Of New York at Will

NYSE06–27–2006 Kommersant – Tatneft has announced it starts voluntary de-listing on NYSE. It is the first time that a Russian company leaves the most prestigious trading floor of the world. Tatneft attributes the withdrawal to higher registration costs in the U.S. and the desire to concentrate on LSE. Tatneft announced yesterday the plans to go through a de-listing procedure on NYSE and terminate SEC registration. Nowadays, Tatneft has 21 percent of stocks circulating on NYSE as ADRs that could be transferred to LSE, a source with the Moscow office of the company said on condition of anonymity. Tatneft BOD will finally decide on de-listing on June 30. Then, the company will apply for terminating NYSE registration for its common stocks. "As the costs related to registering securities with SEC had materially increased in the last years, it was decided to centralize the world trading in equity securities of Tatneft in London," the company said in an official news release. De-listing will trim the level of Tatneft securities, so the holders (but for qualified investors) will be offered the buy-out via the Bank of New York, depository for Tatneft ADRs. The actual reasons of Tatneft de-listing are a bit different from the ones named by the company, the market players speculate. "Surely, the reason of transfer is reluctance to explain the reported data," Alfa Bank analyst Konstantin Batunin said, adding that, in London, the requirements to issuers are not as strict as in New York, and one can disclose less information there.

Russia to boost oil refining in Q3

RBC, 03.07.2006, Moscow 10:45:55 - The Russian Industry and Energy Ministry has approved and put into effect the country's third-quarter balances of crude oil, the main types of petroleum products and gas, as well as timetables for oil transportation and transit beyond Russia's customs territory. According to the country's fuel balance divulged by the ministry's press service on Friday, Russia's main petroleum product output will rise in July-September 2006 compared to Q3 2005, despite a decrease in oil supplies to the refineries. Gasoline production is expected to increase 7.5 percent to 8.6m tonnes compared to the same period a year earlier. Russian refineries will produce 15.94m tonnes of diesel fuel (up 13.86 percent), 13.8m tonnes of residual fuel oil (up 9.52 percent), and 2.35m tonnes of jet fuel (up 2.17 percent). Domestic consumption will be up in all the main petroleum products, except jet fuel (down 6.35 percent). Gasoline exports are expected to surge 50 percent to 1.55m tonnes, and jet fuel exports will double to 0.43m tonnes.

Russia expects higher oil output in Q3

RBC, 03.07.2006, Moscow 10:13:13 - The Russian Industry and Energy Ministry has approved and put into effect the country's third-quarter balances of crude oil, the main types of petroleum products and gas, as well as timetables for oil transportation and transit beyond Russia's customs territory. According to the country's fuel balance divulged by the ministry's press service on Friday, Russia's oil production (taking into account gas condensate) will rise 2.5 percent to 122m tonnes compared to Q3 2005. At the same time, oil supplies to Russian oil refineries will decrease 4 percent to 57.8m tonnes, whereas exports outside the CIS will surge 28.5 percent to 55.9m tonnes. Exports to the CIS will meanwhile shrink 14.1 percent to 9.1m tonnes compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

LUKoil starts drilling natural gas wells in southwest Uzbekistan

TASHKENT, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - LUKoil (RTS: LKOH) said Saturday it had started drilling natural gas wells in the southwest of Uzbekistan. The drilling works at the Khauzak deposit are conducted by LUKoil Overseas within the framework of the Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungard production sharing agreement. "As for now, a 3D seismic survey of Khauzak block has been completed, group design for the construction of development wells has been prepared, the construction of power lines has been finished and the work on the construction of access roads, as well as on the preparations to overhaul three wells, is in progress," Russia's independent crude producer said in its news release. The company said that the drilling of the first well would be completed in four months. In all 37 new development wells were planned to be drilled at the Khauzak block. The 35-year agreement on the Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad project was signed June 16, 2004 in Tashkent and came into force November 24, 2004. The project is implemented by a consortium of investors, which includes LUKoil Overseas (90%) and Uzbekneftegaz (10%). The estimated natural gas production of 10 billion cubic meters per year had been planned to start in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Putin says Russia-Canada energy dialog holds good prospects

MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - President of Russia Vladimir Putin said Sunday Russia-Canada energy dialog had good prospects. Putin sent Sunday congratulations to Canada's Governor General and Prime Minister on the occasion of Canada Day. "I note with satisfaction the dynamic development of the relations between Canada and Russia. I am confident that bilateral energy dialog, which both countries are holding, has serious prospects," Putin said in his congratulatory letter. Putin said Canada was an important partner for Russia and both countries successfully cooperated in various fields. "During the year of Russia's presidency in the G-8 Group, I would like to specifically note the successful cooperation of our countries within the framework of this influential organization. We also consider as quite symbolic that the decision on Russia's G-8 presidency was made during the summit in Kananaskis," the document says.

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