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Russia

Markets

Gazprom to buy out partners in canceled South Stream Project

OAO Gazprom (OGZD), the world’s biggest natural-gas exporter, agreed to buy the 50% it doesn’t own in South Stream Transport BV from Italy’s Eni SpA (ENI), Electricite de France SA and the Wintershall unit of Germany’s BASF SE (BAS). No purchase price was disclosed in statements issued by EDF, BASF, Eni and Moscow-based Gazprom. Eni, owner of a 20% stake, and BASF and EDF, which each own 15% stakes, said they’re recovering their investments in the proposed $45 billion Black Sea pipeline that Russia scrapped this month.

Oil & Gas

BP shares rise on back of Rosneft talks

Shares in oil giant BP have increased by 0.5% on the back of reports its set to close a deal with Rosneft to develop fields in eastern Siberia. The potential agreement has been reported by Moscow-based newspaper Kommersant, which says that Rosneft has signed a "strategic partnership" with BP to explore oil fields.

Markets

Gazprom cuts spending by more than $200million

Russian energy company Gazprom said it was cutting expenses by more than $200million in an effort to streamline operations going forward. The board of directors said it was cutting expenses by $238.7 million and expecting around $1.65 billion in foreign loans. The Russian Central Bank last week raised its key interest rate by 6.5% to 17% in an effort to arrest the decline of the nation's currency.

Markets

Rosneft feels sanctions’ chill in failed oil-unit deal

Morgan Stanley’s failure to complete the sale of its oil storage, trading and transport unit shows the chilling effect US sanctions are having on Russian companies including OAO Rosneft. The US bank and Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil giant, said Monday that their deal, for an undisclosed amount, had expired after the companies failed to win regulatory approval. Morgan Stanley had warned in October that the agreement might not be completed.

Markets

Russia bank bailout amid falling oil prices

Russia has bailed out a mid-sized bank to save it from bankruptcy - a clear sign that the slide in the value of the rouble in the wake of falling oil prices is straining the banking system. The Central Bank said it will give Trust Bank 30 billion roubles (£350 million) that will allow it to continue operating as normal. It will also place Trust Bank under its own supervision until it finds an investor. Major Russian banks said they had no interest in acquiring Trust, a top 30 Russian bank with about £3.2 billion in assets.

Oil & Gas

Rosneft repays $7 billion and sees no need to buy dollars

OAO Rosneft (ROSN) repaid $7 billion in debt and said it is generating enough dollars to meet the obligations taken on to buy TNK-BP last year and become the world’s largest traded oil producer. The state-led company, hit by sanctions on Russia from the US and European Union limiting access to capital markets, said it has settled $24 billion this year in line with credit agreements. Rosneft has sufficient foreign currency to cover debt, Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said in a statement.

Oil & Gas

Putin says Russian economy should be ready for $40-a-barrel oil

The Russian economy must adapt to the reality of oil prices that could fall as low as $40 a barrel, President Vladimir Putin said as he faces the worst financial crisis since coming to power in 2000. “I don’t know how quickly it will happen if prices stay at today’s level, or if they will drop lower than $60, $40,” Putin said today at his annual press conference in Moscow. “The economy will structure itself accordingly, however much is necessary.” The US and Saudi Arabia, which with Russia are the world’s three biggest crude producers, may be colluding to push down the price of oil, Putin said.

Oil & Gas

Second stage of Siberian gas field begins

The SeverEnergia joint venture involving Russian company Novatek and state-run Gazprom Neft has launched the second stage of the Urengoyskoye field. It lies within the Samburgskiy area and includes the second train of the gas condensate de-ethanization unit.

Markets

Russia currency drop continues as oil price slides

The ruble has continued to slide even after Russia’s Central Bank sought to ease the selling pressure on the currency following the drop in oil prices by raising interest rates again. The Central Bank raised its key interest rate by a percentage point to 10.5%, citing an increasing rise in consumer prices and “significant inflation risks”. The bank said inflation is expected to hit 10% for 2014 and rise further in the first quarter of 2015.

Other News

Oil, the ruble and Putin are all headed for 63

Heard the one about Vladimir Putin, the oil price and the ruble’s value against the dollar? They will all hit 63 next year. That’s the joke doing the rounds of the Kremlin as the Russian government digs in to weather international sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. According to at least five people close to Putin, pressure from the US and Europe is galvanizing Russians to withstand a siege on their economy. The black humor is part of an image of defiance not seen since the Cold War. As the economy enters its first recession in more than five years, the ruble depreciates to records and money exits the country, Putin’s supporters are closing ranks and say he’s sure to run for another six-year term in 2018.

Oil & Gas

Russia warns of recession amidst falling oil exports and sanctions

The Russian government has acknowledged that the country will fall into recession next year, battered by the combination of Western sanctions and a plunge in the price of its oil exports. The news caused the stock market to drop and pushed the ruble to a fresh record low against the dollar. The economic development ministry today revised its GDP forecast for 2015 from growth of 1.2% to a drop of 0.8%. Russian households are expected to take hit, with disposable income seen declining by 2.8% against the previously expected 0.4% growth.

Oil & Gas

Putin scraps South Stream Gas Pipeline after EU pressure

President Vladimir Putin said Russia scrapped a proposed $45 billion Black Sea pipeline to carry gas to Europe, the latest sign economic ties with the European Union are breaking down as the Ukraine crisis persists. Shelving the South Stream project ensures pipelines through Ukraine will remain vital supply links to Europe for years to come. The route under the Black Sea would have offered Russia’s OAO Gazprom a more direct path to feed the continent’s gas needs, a plan the EU objected to because it would reduce Ukraine’s leverage against its neighbor.

Other News

Putin: Peace in Ukraine is possible

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believes peace in Ukraine is possible but that neither side is fully upholding a peace deal struck in September. In an interview with German television, Mr Putin said he is convinced it is possible to end the deadlock in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels have been battling Kiev’s troops in a conflict that has claimed at least 3,500 lives since March. But he also said that neither the rebels nor Ukrainian troops had fully withdrawn from key locations in the region to create a buffer zone, a key part of a truce deal agreed to in September.

Oil & Gas

Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company wins Russian gas contract

A major contract has been awarded to Philippines fabricator Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company (AG&P) to build process modules for one of the world's largest LNG projects in Russia. The company will carry out work on the Yamal liquefied natural gas(LNG) project and is based in the estuary of the Ob River which is ice-bound nine months of the year.