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stabilization fund should total 122.4 billion rubles on March 1,
according to preliminary figures, the Finance Ministry told Interfax


The fund was at 106.33 billion on February 1 2004, so has increased by over 16 billion rubles.


The opening address of the Moscow Mayor Yuri M. Luzkov



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Russia's domestic debt in government securities grew 13.94 billion rubles or
    2.1% to 685.55 billion rubles in February, the Finance Ministry said

  The debt, which was 663.534 billion rubles on January 1, grew 22.02 billion rubles
     or 3.3% in the first two months of 2004


A BP-led group, developing a giant gas field in Eastern Siberia, said on Thursday
    it would commit $650 million to start production and supply local Russian
    consumers with gas from 2006.

  The move comes amid increased pressure on the group from Russia's gas monopoly
     Gazprom, which wants to join the project and opposes BP's plans to build Russia's
     first gas pipeline to Asia, including to China and South Korea. BP's Russian vehicle
     TNK-BP agreed on Thursday with authorities of East Siberian region of Irkutsk that it
     would supply regional consumers, such as utilities and petrochemical firms, with 300
     million cubic metres of gas from 2006, rising to 2.2 billion cubic metres from 2009.
     "Our total investment will amount to $650 million in 2004-2009. The implementation
     of the local project will not depend on the terms of implementation of the
     international project," TNK-BP's spokesman Vladimir Bobylev told Reuters. TNK-BP
     controls 63 percent of the Rusia Petroleum firm, whose main asset is a giant
     Kovykta field, containing more than two trillion cubic metres of gas reserves, almost
     equal to the world's annual gas output.
     Other owners include industrial group Interros and the local administration and both
     are planning to sell their stakes. The field was long considered as the main source
     of gas for a pipeline to Asia, and Rusia Petroleum agreed last year with consumers
     in China and South Korea to start first supplies from 2008, gradually rising to 30
     billion cubic metres a year. But the project ran into trouble last year, when Gazprom,
     the world's top gas producer supplying Europe with a quarter of its needs, was
     appointed state co-ordinator for all Russian gas projects. BP offered to bring
     Gazprom into the field last year but the gas giant said it wanted at least an equal
     stake in the venture. It has said it is not satisfied with buying out a combined 37
     percent stake from Interros and the authorities. Gazprom also said it was more
     reasonable to sell gas from the field at home and to Europe and said it viewed the
     Asian plan as unrealistic. Russian domestic gas prices are capped by the state at
     around $25 per 1,000 cubic metres, while Gazprom currently sells gas to Europe at
     around $140 per 1,000 cubic metres

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