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Monday, December 29, 2008

Moscow to oversee signing of "gas OPEC" charter

MOSCOW, Dec 22, 2008 (Reuters) - Russia will oversee the creation of a more formal group of gas exporting states on Tuesday, further unsettling energy consumers worried by Moscow's clash with Kiev over gas and by its closer ties with oil body OPEC. It will host a meeting of energy ministers from at least 11 gas exporting countries such as Iran, Qatar and Venezuela -- members of an informal club called the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) that Moscow has sought to strengthen. Although Russia says this so-called "gas OPEC" is not meant to emulate OPEC's policies in setting output quotas, Tuesday's gathering will be closely watched by consuming nations. Russian officials said the members would agree on a charter, that would make GECF a more formal organisation with a headquarters in Russia's second largest city of St Petersburg, although the body would keep the same name. Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will attend the forum while President Dmitry Medvedev will host a dinner at the Kremlin on Tuesday evening. The global credit crisis has heightened Russia's dependence on revenues from oil and gas as the rouble slides and the government spends its cash pile to support the economy, so Moscow wants to increase its political clout on energy markets. Medvedev said earlier this month Russia is considering all options including joining the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to defend its national interests, although the world's No.2 oil exporter offered no cuts or special deals to OPEC at a meeting in Algeria last week. Russia supplies a quarter of Europe's gas needs and wants to increase its share to one third by 2020. Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom stepped up pressure on Ukraine to pay debts on Monday, saying it had warned European customers about potential disruptions to gas transit should the company fail to clinch a deal with Kiev. An aide to the president of Ukraine, through which about 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe flow, responded that Kiev was ready to guarantee transit supplies in 2009. Ukraine owes Gazprom around $2 billion for gas supplies and European countries are also eyeing this dispute nervously after a row between the two states led to a cut in exports of the fuel to Europe in January 2006. BIG GAS TROIKA Outside the GECF, Gazprom earlier this year signed a separate deal with Iran and Qatar, setting what it called a "big gas troika" to coordinate market policies, but denying it was seeking to influence prices. "Regulating the gas market by setting production quotas is out of question... Until long-term contracts make up the base of gas business, setting production quotas can not be considered," Gazprom's export boss Alexander Medvedev said last week. Most industry analysts agree that the nature of global gas markets, which do not use spot contracts, makes it almost impossible to set production quotas. But long-term, take-or-pay contracts, when consumers have either to take agreed volumes of gas or pay fines, can backfire badly when oil prices slump. Gazprom has already said many European clients have chosen to pay fines in the past months and reduce gas purchases below agreed volumes as they were still gaining by buying fuel oil. The forum's country members include Algeria, Bolivia, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, Qatar, Russia, Venezuela and two observer members -- Equatorial Guinea and Norway.

Russia's Transneft to hold $700 mln pipe purchase tender in Dec.

TALAKAN (Amur Region, Russian Far East), December 22, 2008 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft will announce and hold a tender in December for the purchase of pipes worth 20 billion rubles ($714 million), Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Monday. "Transneft expects to hold a tender before the end of December for the purchase of pipes worth 20 billion rubles. The order will be distributed among four large domestic producers," Sechin said. Sechin, who oversees the fuel and energy complex in the Russian government, expressed hope that Transneft would fully implement its investment program in 2009. "We hope that cuts in the cost [of the investment program] will not affect its physical volume," Sechin said. The vice-premier also said that state-controlled oil company Rosneft also planned to place its main orders with domestic enterprises, adding that the crude producer had developed an anti-crisis package to cut production costs amid declining global oil prices and the ongoing global financial crisis.

Tatneft posts 9M 2008 Net income of $1.265 Billion

Tatneft posts 9M 2008 Net income of $1.265 Billion12–22–2008 – Russia Today – Russian oil producer Tatneft, has posted a 9M 2008 Net Income of $1.265 Billion under U.S. GAAP. The 9M bottom line is up 2.9% year on year, with EBITDA coming in at $2.08 Billion, up 1.8%, on Sales of $15.73 Billion. The 9M result came on top of a 3Q which saw Net Income for the Tatarstan based producer fall 24% year on year to $388 million, with 3Q EBITDA of $578 million, down 26.6%, on Sales of $5.4 Billion. The company attributed the 9M result to higher crude prices over the period, with a range of non recurring charges being represented in the 9M figures.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Russia keeps distance from OPEC

Dec 20, 2008 - Asia Times by John Helmer - MOSCOW - Russia kept its observer's status at this week's summit conference of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and avoided taking the plunge into membership of the international oil cartel that was hinted at by the Kremlin last week. At the same time, the Kremlin is playing a siren song to attract greater coordination of the international gas trade when the cartel of gas producers meets in Moscow next Tuesday, December 23. The OPEC cut of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in output quota announced this week will not be supplemented by a fresh Russian cut, although Igor Sechin, the deputy prime minister in charge of the oil sector, announced at the OPEC meeting in Algeria that if crude prices did not start to recover next year, Russia would cut export volumes by another 320,000 bpd, following the 350,000 bpd export cut in November. The projected cut looks likely to occur whatever Sechin says, because falling prices have reduced incentives to produce among the smaller Russian producers, and the majors are also cutting back on field expansions, while delivering more of their crude to domestic refineries, instead of to the ports for export as crude. The Russian move was considerably less than the 400,000 bpd cut OPEC members had sought. Also, Russia has not agreed to a specific cut by a specific date, as the OPEC countries have done. Industry sources note that it is more difficult for Russia, compared with leading OPEC members like Saudi Arabia, to close down producing wells, as the harsh operating conditions in Siberia make it difficult to recommission the wells later. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had triggered speculation that Russia might join OPEC, when he said last week that the country must defend its interest in an era of higher oil prices, noting that this could include "a decrease in oil production, or have participation in currently existing [or new] exporters' clubs". The interpretation that Russia was getting ready to end 48 years of independence of OPEC was implicitly denied by Medvedev: "Let me repeat: What is on the agenda is the source of income for our country, the development of our country ... It's about our national interests. We will do what we think is necessary." Industry sources acknowledge that Russia's current interest is in line with OPEC's to halt the oil price slide and rebuild state revenues at about $70 per barrel. The Kremlin's policy instruments to achieve that with Russian producers are a combination of tax relief and pipeline access. Avoiding OPEC constraints has been Moscow's traditional policy because the Kremlin has always viewed the organization as driven by a pro-US orientation, and Medvedev's remarks reiterated that. Sechin's remarks at the OPEC meeting were a gesture of solidarity in OPEC's direction, without a significant change in Russian policy. As Russian company cash flows are squeezed, oil revenues fall and costs including taxes remain high, all the domestic oil majors have cut oilfield spending and will do so even further in 2009. This means a minimum loss of 200,000 bpd and a maximum of 500,000 bpd by end-2009. Sechin did little more than split the difference, and offer that to OPEC as the Russian contribution. From the geopolitical point of view, the Kremlin calculates that it has preserved its cooperative relationship with OPEC, and encouraged member states, which are also gas producers, to join in next week's round of gas output and pricing talks in Moscow. At the same time, the Kremlin has sidestepped accusations from the European Union and the US Congress that it is an unreliable supplier of energy. On the gas front, the Kremlin's strategy is less reticent, not least of all because, through Gazprom, Russia controls far more of the world's gas reserves and export flows than it does of crude oil and petroleum products. Russia, Iran and Qatar, together, hold 69% of the world's gas reserves. This year they agreed to form a tripartite organization to meet regularly for talks on gas export, transportation and pricing policy. Russia exports the fuel at present in natural gas form through pipelines, and has yet to commence liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments, though these are planned to start next year from Sakhalin Island. Iran is planning both pipeline and LNG shipments, while Qatar exports primarily in LNG form, plus a small volume of natural gas. In addition to this gas troika, Russia is building the seven-year-old, hot-air talking shop called the Gas-Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). Founded in Tehran, the forum counts 14 regular country members, plus five intermittent members and one observer, Norway. The last summit meeting of gas ministers was held in Doha in April 2007. Moscow plays host next week. Before the Doha meeting, when Russian confidence was buoyed on the rising price of oil and gas, and burgeoning energy revenues, then-president Vladimir Putin toured Saudi Arabia and Qatar to endorse the idea of cartel mechanisms for application by the GECF. Represented at Doha by Energy Minister Victor Khristenko and Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller, the Russian delegation pushed through an agreement to create a study group for evaluating gas pricing mechanisms currently in use, with the objective of devising a single standard, delinked from crude oil and incorporating the different forms in which gas is traded in the market. Russian industry analysts believe the gas troika cannot have much impact on the global demand-supply balance for gas, or on gas export pricing, until a majority of the GECF members agree to shift from signing long-term take-or-pay gas contracts, which provide for less volatile export prices and guaranteed gas deliveries. A unified gas pricing mechanism will be hard to set as Gazprom exports natural gas via pipeline and there is no tradable exchange instrument for natural gas, such as the Brent market for crude oil. Other GECF members, especially in the Persian Gulf, prefer to export LNG, for which prices are volatile and set differently from Gazprom's natural gas contracts. Breaking up - that is, delinking between oil and gas - is hard to do. But winter helps, or at least that is Gazprom's hope now, as contracts for current and first-quarter deliveries lose the price link they have to the crude oil price peak of mid-2008. Gazprom's recently released production and export cuts suggest it believes that a warm winter in Europe may add to the demand reductions already dictated by recession. However, at the same time, the dominant gas supplier to Europe is wagering that it can achieve higher spot-market gas prices if the weather turns unexpectedly cold. According to a recent briefing by deputy chief executive Valery Golubev, this year's expected gas output from Gazprom will be 20% to 25% below that of a year ago, with December volume of 39-42 billion cubic meters (bcm) as low as the summer monthly average. The production cut forecast is deeper than domestic power generation, which fell 7% in November, compared to November of 2007. While Golubev did not issue a new export forecast, Gazprom is signaling that unless it cuts back more sharply on export shipments than domestic supplies, it will face downward price pressure from pre-winter stocking of gas supplies, and from low spot-price buying by European consumers. Gazprom is hoping that a cold spell across Europe could trigger a sudden spike in demand, and spot deficits, thereby encouraging a more sustainable price after the first-quarter contracts expire, and new ones, linked to much lower crude oil prices, must be negotiated.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wintershall CEO Honoured For Contribution to German-Russian Cooperation

Reinier Zwitserloot, CEO of WintershallDecember 12, 2008 - OilVoice - The Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation is being awarded to Reinier Zwitserloot, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall Holding AG, on Sunday, 14 December 2008. The Order will be conferred by the Russian Ambassador H.E. Vladimir V. Kotenev in a ceremonial presentation at the Christmas concert of the Novosibirsk Chamber Choir in the Martinskirche in Kassel at 3 p.m. Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev has already signed the decree conferring the award. The Order of Friendship is the highest state decoration of the Russian Federation awarded to non-Russian citizens. Mr. Zwitserloot is being honoured for his significant personal contribution to cooperation between Russia and Germany in the oil and gas industry and for his active participation in German-Russian economic, scientific and cultural projects. “It is a great honour for me that Russia sees me as a friend. And we will continue on this path of friendship together in the future”, the Chairman of the largest German crude oil and natural gas company declared. The friendship between Germany and Russia was essential for securing Europe’s energy supply - and for the stability of the regions, Mr. Zwitserloot said. “The conferral of the Order also recognizes the efforts of Wintershall and WINGAS in building bridges between the two countries. In Gazprom we have a partner with whom we can plan and shape the future with confidence”, Mr. Zwitserloot explained. The Wintershall CEO emphasised that the friendship with Russia was not only a necessity because of the economic ties, but that it was also a matter close to his heart. Mr. Zwitserloot underlined that his efforts were first and foremost geared towards becoming familiar with the cultural roots of the other country, arousing interest and generating understanding. As examples of the friendship he cited the town twinning between Kassel and Novy Urengoy as well as the reconstruction of the Cathedral of the Dormition in Nowgorod built in 1352. The Russian Ambassador H.E. Vladimir V. Kotenev will also sign the "Golden Book” of the City of Kassel before the ceremony as a symbol of the friendship. At this year’s Christmas concert for the staff of Kassel-based Wintershall, the Novosibirsk Chamber Choir conducted by Igor Yudin will present spiritual music including masterworks by Tschaikowsky, Rachmaninov as well as Russian folk songs. The choir, which enjoys success far beyond the borders of Russia, was founded in 1981 and was the first professional choir of the Soviet Union east of the Ural Mountains. Russian Orthodox choral music has crowned the choir’s repertoire since the first days of its existence.

Russian government to back LUKoil's purchase of Spain's Repsol

MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is ready to provide political support for independent crude producer LUKoil to buy a stake in Spanish oil firm Repsol, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Wednesday. LUKoil is seeking to buy around 30% in Repsol YPF, Spain's largest private oil and gas company, in a deal worth some 5.09 billion euros ($6.36 billion), with 20% held by Spanish builder Sacyr Vallehermoso SA and 9.9% by La Caixa and Caixa Catalunya. "No doubt, if LUKoil has such a need [to buy the interest], we'll provide corresponding political support," Shmatko said. The minister said the transaction would be interesting from the viewpoint of LUKoil entering the European market.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Russia looks to cut crude production - mulls OPEC membership

Russia looks to cut crude production - mulls OPEC membership12-11-2008 - Russia Today - Russia says it is not only considering cutting oil production, but is also mulling OPEC membership. President Medvedev says Russia is ready for the step and it could help put a floor under prices. “We are ready for it. We must protect ourselves. This is our income base, in both oil and gas. These protective measures may be associated with reducing oil production as well as with the participation of suppliers in certain organisations, and with participation in new organisations, if we manage to come to an agreement, so to say”. Crude prices have rebounded strongly on the Presidents comment and others from Saudi Arabia calling for a serious cut when OPEC next meets in Algeria. After languishing near $40 BBL earlier in the week Thursday has seen it trading in the $46-$48 BBL range. Russian oil companies have already mentioned they're expecting a sharp cut, which could drive prices back into the 60 to 80 US dollar band. With the World Bank issuing a gloomy demand outlook this week, Leonid Fedun, Vice President of Lukoil said coordinated action was necessary to halt the slide, “To revise the downward trend on the oil market, OPEC and Russia have to jointly cut oil output by some three million barrels a day,” Fedun added that if there are no agreements reached on production cuts downward pressure on the price will continue and oil companies will face a tough time in 2009. “The market will definitely react to it, it has risen about 5 per cent just on expectations. If there will be no cut, the next year will be difficult for us.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Piebalgs steps in over gas row

9 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Europe's energy chief Andris Piebalgs today called on Russia and Ukraine to resolve a long-simmering row over gas payments. A Soviet-era pipeline network carries 25% of Europe's gas from Russia across Ukraine, and the European Union is concerned that the dispute between the two countries could see supplies cut as they were in January 2006. Russian gas giant Gazprom has claimed Ukraine owes it $2.4 billion for gas supplied from September to November, as well as interest for late payment. Ukraine has denied this, saying it it owes $2 billion. Today an EU spokesman said Piebalgs, the European Energy Commissioner, is very concerned about the current dispute. "The Commissioner calls on both parties to reach a definitive agreement that solves their bilateral problems once and for all as soon as possible," he told Reuters, adding the Commission was not worried about current supplies to Europe. "Mr Piebalgs has intensified contacts with Russian and Ukrainian authorities...Commission officials are going to meet representatives of Gazprom...EU delegations in Moscow and Kiev are also in intense negotiations," he added.

Russian government to back LUKoil's purchase of Spain's Repsol

MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is ready to provide political support for independent crude producer LUKoil to buy a stake in Spanish oil firm Repsol, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Wednesday. LUKoil is seeking to buy around 30% in Repsol YPF, Spain's largest private oil and gas company, in a deal worth some 5.09 billion euros ($6.36 billion), with 20% held by Spanish builder Sacyr Vallehermoso SA and 9.9% by La Caixa and Caixa Catalunya. "No doubt, if LUKoil has such a need [to buy the interest], we'll provide corresponding political support," Shmatko said. The minister said the transaction would be interesting from the viewpoint of LUKoil entering the European market.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oil company Rusia Petroleum under pressure over Kovytka gas field

ST. PETERSBURG, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's environmental regulator accused oil company Rusia Petroleum on Tuesday of breaching the terms of its license to the Kovytka gas condensate field in Siberia's Irkutsk Region. "According to the license agreement, nine billion cubic meters of natural gas should have been delivered to the Irkutsk Region," the head of environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor, Vladimir Kirillov, told an international environmental conference in St. Petersburg. "We have sent the license documents to (licensing agency) Rosnedra," he said. In the summer of 2007, Rosnedra considered revoking the company's the license for the Kovykta field due to the field's late launch and insufficient production level. According to the license, Rusia Petroleum was to supply at least nine billion cubic meters of gas to meet the needs of the surrounding region. RUSIA Petroleum is owned by TNK-BP with 62.8%, the Irkutsk regional administration with 10.78%, and power generator OGK-3 (RTS: OGKC) with 25% minus one share.

Crude producer RussNeft loses three oil licenses

RussNeftMOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian crude producer RussNeft will have its licenses for three West Siberian oil fields revoked from December 10, a business daily said on Tuesday citing a Rosnedra spokesman. Vedomosti said the mineral resources regulator had revoked the licenses after the company failed to comply with the terms of its license. RussNeft had also failed to meet deadlines on oil volumes; Rosnedra has declined to provide further details. The three licenses were held by a RussNeft subsidiary, Benodet Investments Ltd. Recoverable oil and gas condensate reserves at the fields amounted to 6.1 million metric tons, or 4.1% of the company's reserves. The company produced 227,485 metric tons of liquid hydrocarbons (1.6% of its output) at the fields in 2007. Neither the RussNeft vice-president, Eduard Sarkisov, nor a spokesman for En+, which is seeking to acquire RussNeft, has made any comment on the withdrawal of the licenses, the paper said. RussNeft Holding produced 14.2 million metric tons (104.37 million bbl) of oil in 2007. Its income calculated to Russian Accounting Standards totaled 119.5 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) in the first nine months of 2008, with net profits of 8.8 billion rubles ($314.3 million).

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rosneft lines up $716m loan

5 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Russia's top oil producer Rosneft has received a 20 billion rouble ($715.6 million) loan from Sberbank, the state-controlled bank's spokesperson Irina Kibina said today. Rosneft's chief financial officer Peter O'Brien told Reuters in an interview on Monday that the producer had lined up a $774 million loan from state lender VEB to refinance its foreign debt. He also said Rosneft might ask for more state loans from the $50 billion package the government has allocated to help companies repay foreign debts in the face of the global liquidity crisis.

Russia pushes back gas flare plan

4 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Russia has delayed its plan to reduce gas flaring to 5% by three years to 2014, Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said. Both the Energy & Natural Resources ministries have decided to postpone the target, Trutnev told Reuters. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had previously set a 2011 deadline. Russia has said it flares nearly $13 billion of gas each year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Kremlin lifts bar on Russneft trade

 2 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - The Russian authorities have unfrozen trade in Russneft shares, opening the way for Russia's richest man, Oleg Deripaska, to finalise a long-delayed deal to take control of the mid-sized oil producer. 2 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Russneft's previous owner, billionaire Mikhail Gutseriyev, fled to the UK in August last year and sold a majority stake in the company to Deripaska for more than $3 billion, excluding debts. However, Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog has yet to approve the deal. When contacted by Reuters, the watchdog could not say when the approval should be expected. Russian media has reported Deripaska's stake in Russneft will be more than 51%, while a source close to the negotiations told Reuters he was seeking 75%. Meanwhile, authorities had frozen Russneft's shares after criminal and tax cases were brought against the company. On 26 November, an investigator at the Interior Ministry's Investigation Committee unfroze the shares, an official at the committee, Irina Dudukina, told Reuters. "The criminal case against Mikhail Gutseriyev accused of illegal entrepreneurship has been put on hold until we find him," Dudukina said. Russneft said in its last report that six offshore companies still control it. Earlier in October, Russia's tax service dropped the last case accusing Russneft of selling its shares illegally. The shares will remain unfrozen from now on, a source close to Russneft's minority shareholders told Reuters. Separately, Russneft will repay its 7 billion rouble ($249.9 million) bond on 10 Decmber, another source close to the company said. Reuters Data said the bond would carry a yield of more than 600%. Russneft's credit worthiness has been under question as oil prices have plunged 70% from their peaks in the summer and the global financial crisis dried up credit markets. "We are ready to do it in any case," the source said of repaying the bond. Russneft is awaiting part of a tax-back owed to it by the tax service, he said, adding "the money likely to come today would be useful but it is not critical" for the company's readiness to meet creditors' demands.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dudley resigns as head of TNK-BP

Robert DudleyMOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Robert Dudley stepped down on Monday as CEO of TNK-BP, the Russian-British joint oil venture said. Dudley left Russia in July over what BP alleged was a campaign of harassment by Russian shareholders. "TNK-BP announced that it had received the resignation of its founding President and CEO, Robert Dudley, in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Alfa Access-Renova and BP in early September. Mr. Dudley's resignation is effective from today, December 1st," the company said on its website. TNK-BP also announced the appointment of Tim Summers as interim CEO. The post is in addition to his current duties as the company's chief operating officer. The appointment of a new CEO is currently being discussed by the company's shareholders, as are changes to the charters and boards of directors of TNK-BP Holding and TNK-BP Management. "I depart TNK-BP after more than five challenging and immensely satisfying years building and leading this unique and progressive Russian oil major", Robert Dudley stated. "I wish the new management team every success in continuing the company's development." TNK-BP is split 50-50 between BP and the Alfa Access Renova (AAR) consortium of Russian billionaire shareholders, who clashed earlier this year over strategy, management and control of the third-largest oil producer in Russia. Under the deal agreed by the parties, Dudley will leave TNK-BP and will be replaced by an executive from outside BP with extensive Russian experience. Russian billionaire shareholder Viktor Vekselberg, who is the Renova Group owner and president, said in mid-November that the new head of TNK-BP would be elected before December 11. He said the shortlist included three people, the leading candidate being Denis Morozov, a former head of Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel. Britain's Sunday Times reported on October 19 that the other names on the list were thought to be Peter O'Brien, a former Morgan Stanley banker and vice-president of Rosneft, and Pyotr Galitsyn, head of the Russian unit of BASF, the German chemicals group. However, according to the British paper, Morozov, who worked for around 10 years at Norilsk Nickel, is seen as the frontrunner as he is "a highly respected executive accustomed to running large, oligarch-controlled industrial groups."

E.On asked Putin for guarantee

01.12.2008 - [Neftegaz.RU] - Putin received E.On chief Wulf Bernotat on Friday and called him “a strategic partner in the full sense of that word.” E.On is the largest foreign shareholder in Gazprom, with a 6.43-percent share. In October, it agreed to trade 2.93 percent for a share in the Yuzhno-Russkoe field. That agreement was the result of several years of difficult negotiations. E.On also spent 4.6 billion Euro on a 76-percent share in Russian electric company OGK-4. “One important condition for our decision on serious investments in electricity was the liberalization of the electricity market,” Bernotat said. “It is, of course, very important for us to know that all of the plans for liberalization and their complex conditions will be rigorously implemented.” He added that ensuring fuel (coal and natural gas) for electricity production and the inclusion of new capacity in the network were also of concern to the German investor. Bernotat said that “fruitful” negotiations were underway on those points with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko and “colleagues from Gazprom.” In spite of those extensive activities, Bernotat told Putin that “It is, of course, important for us to obtain political support and your support in this issue.” Putin responded that “All plans that we have made in this area we will not cut back on and they will be fulfilled.” He did not specify which plans he was referring to or when they will be fulfilled. Kommersant reported that a source in the presidential administration told that the real emphasis in the talks between Putin and Bernotat was the German’s desire for a guarantee of gas deliveries to Europe in the event that Russia and Ukraine would again quarrel on gas supplies in January.

TNK-BP CEO resigns

RBC, 01.12.2008, Moscow 13:18:24.TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley has handed in his resignation letter. Until a new CEO is appointed, Tim Summers will carry out his duties as interim CEO in addition to his current functions as Chief Operating Officer, the company's press office reported. Dudley's resignation is effective from today, December 1, in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between the Russian-British joint venture's shareholders. As reported in the company's statement, discussions are currently underway on a new CEO candidate, and shareholders are also mulling over changes to the Articles of Association and boards of directors of TNK-BP Holding and TNK-BP Management.

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