Registration was successful!
Please follow the link from the email sent to

What the Russian papers say


MOSCOW, May 14 (RIA Novosti)
Russia gets status quo government/ U.S. to deploy high-frequency radar in Georgia/ Atomstroyexport to bid in Moroccan NPP tender/ TNK-BP may get $300 million more from Kovykta deal/ Russia's environmental watchdog may deprive Rosneft of license for Sakhalin-3 block/ Udokan hopefuls fail to reach agreement


Russia gets status quo government

The structure and format of Vladimir Putin's government is evidence that Russian authorities will not focus on large-scale challenging tasks, but will try to maintain their positions.
The bulk of new ministers are old hands, with only the most odious players - Vladimir Ustinov, Leonid Reiman and Alexander Sokolov - leaving the ranks and very few newcomers taking up the junior posts.
Those who expected the new government to lead the country's socio-economic development to the targets outlined in Concept 2020 are disappointed: they are the same people who have governed Russia for the past eight years. We know where they came from and what they have achieved, and so only the extremely naive can expect them to add a new element to the government's operation.
The government has been restructured to the pre-2004 Byzantine system, with the ministerial powers virtually restored. The prime minister will have two first deputies, and officials will forget about socio-economic goals trying to determine which of them, Igor Shuvalov or Viktor Zubkov, stands higher.
Economic development is clearly not on the new government's list of priorities, and economic ministers can expect lobbying instructions from influential deputy prime ministers, who will tell them how to spend budget funds, what to do with state property, and which foreign trade barriers to erect.
This apparent loss of the economic ministers' influence is a very bad sign.
If the Russian authorities seriously wanted to introduce a new economic policy needed to build "something like Communism" by 2020, as Putin said, they would have injected fresh blood into the Cabinet, overcome the "personnel incest" syndrome and stopped the never-ending rotation of officials.
Russians don't have a government we can pin our hopes on. What they have is a status quo government, which is not going to lead them into a bright future. Its task is to preserve its positions for as long as possible, and members of the Putin Cabinet suit this purpose best.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

U.S. to deploy high-frequency radar in Georgia

According to news reports, the United States may deploy a high-frequency X-band radar in Georgia. Although the country's defense ministry has made no comment on the information, local analysts are not ruling out the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system in the South Caucasus. Tbilisi might soon get a new trump card it could use to pressure Moscow.
Washington has so far failed to agree with Prague and Warsaw on the deployment of tracking radar and an anti-missile base as part of its strategic missile-defense 'shield' in the Czech and Polish territories. Despite earlier plans, the agreement to launch preliminary construction on a site selected for the X-band radar not far from Prague, was not signed in early May.
The plan to locate a base for 10 interceptor missiles in Poland has failed to overcome unresolved problems. Washington believes Warsaw is asking too high a price for risks to its own security; the U.S. government has so far refused to give the amount requested.
"Georgia has not yet specifically negotiated hosting a U.S. radar station," Liberty Station military expert Koba Liklikadze told NG. "Simply, the U.S. is making a proposal which Georgia has no reason to decline."
"A radar station will boost the country's air defense. If Washington's proposal is also financially attractive, I see no reason why Tbilisi should refuse to host it," Liklikadze said.
According to him, this kind of Georgian-U.S. cooperation will certainly spark protest and outrage in Russia, but Moscow must understand that any country would seek to get the best deals for itself.
Georgia, which earlier threatened Russia with blocking its WTO accession talks, will now have a new and better instrument to pressure Moscow.
"Russia may be confronted with two equally unpleasant options - NATO's enhanced role in the South Caucasus if Georgia joins the alliance, or the U.S. alone gaining influence in the region," said political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze. "The recent Bucharest summit has shown that Moscow can look after itself - NATO failed to grant membership action plans to both Georgia and Ukraine, not least under pressure from Russia. However, Russia was not as successful in scoring points in its standoff with the United States," he added.


Atomstroyexport to bid in Moroccan NPP tender

Russia's nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly Atomstroyexport that wants to build a $6 billion nuclear power plant in Morocco will have to compete against major French nuclear power company Areva and Canada's nuclear technology and engineering company AECL.
Analysts said it would not be easy to reach an agreement with the Moroccan authorities.
Under a program for expanding the national nuclear power industry, Morocco wants to build two 600-1,000 mWt reactors.
Yevgeny Rudakov, an expert analyst with the Institute of Natural Monopolies' Studies (IPEM--Russian acronym), said a NPP with two 1,000 mWt reactors would cost at least $6 billion.
Morocco has already chosen an appropriate construction site and plans to commission the NPP in 2016-2017.
Atomstroyexport spokesperson Irina Yesipova said the company had sent a technical and commercial offer to the Moroccan side, and that its offer was currently being studied and assessed but refused to say when the contractor would be chosen.
In comparison to foreign companies, Atomstroyexport offers state-of-the-art technology and ample experience - it has built nuclear reactors in China and elsewhere.
The IPEM analyst said neither the contract price, nor reactor specifications would determine the winner in the Moroccan tender. Just like most other countries starting to develop new industries and energy sectors, Morocco will choose the winner in line with inter-governmental cooperation agreements, he told the paper.
Apart from Africa, Atomstroyexport plans to win new contracts in Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Finland, Armenia, Egypt, Indonesia and Jordan.
The company is currently building two reactors in India, one in Iran and two in Bulgaria.


TNK-BP may get $300 million more from Kovykta deal

The reserves at the East Siberian Kovykta gas condensate field could be upgraded if an additional 600 billion cubic meters (21.18 trillion cu f) of gas is added to the books of Rusia Petroleum, a subsidiary of Russian-British venture TNK-BP.
If the mineral resource licensing agency, Rosnedra, confirms Rusia's reserves, the value of the company, which is party to a transaction to turn over part of the Kovykta project to Gazprom, may increase dramatically.
TNK-BP could make an additional $300 million from the deal.
In June 2007, it agreed to sell its stake in Kovykta to the Russian gas monopoly for $700-$900 million. The two companies also planned to set up a strategic alliance with at least $3 billion equity, but the signing of the deal was postponed several times.
Sources in TNK-BP and Gazprom said the monopoly expected to take over Kovykta by buying a controlling stake in TNK-BP.
Nikolai Suslov, deputy head of the Irkutsk Region's branch of Rosnedra, said the reserves commission might approve an increase in the Khandinsky block's reserves to 2.1 trillion cu m (74.13 trillion cu f) by the end of June.
A source close to TNK-BP said the oil company planned to use the new reserves as an argument to increase the price of the deal. However, the two companies are discussing proven reserves, and new discoveries are the concern of TNK-BP.
A source in Gazprom recalled that TNK-BP might lose its Kovykta license for violations of the license agreement. The company is "not in a position to bargain, because the Natural Resources Ministry has warned it of possible revocation of its Kovykta license," he said.
Vitaly Kryukov, an analyst at the Kapital investment group, said Gazprom and TNK-BP are unlikely to close the deal by July 2008, and so "the approval of reserves will not influence the signing of the Kovykta deal."
Alexander Kuznetsov from the Prospekt investment group said: "This is good news for Gazprom, which will not have to pay for additional gas reserves. What I cannot understand is why TNK-BP is investing in a deposit that will soon become Gazprom's property?"
"On the other hand, the state usually compensates foreign companies' outlays quite lavishly," he said, adding that TNK-BP probably wants to increase the cost of its stake this way.
Dmitry Lyutyagin, an analyst at the Veles Capital investment company, said the Khandinsky block of the Kovykta deposit could increase the price of TNK-BP's share in the deal with Gazprom by $300 million.

RBK daily

Russia's environmental watchdog may deprive Rosneft of license for Sakhalin-3 block

Russia's state-controlled oil major Rosneft may lose the right to develop the Veninsky block in the Sakhalin-3 project. The block is currently being developed by Venineft, a joint venture between Rosneft and China's Sinopec. Inspections conducted by Russian environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor have revealed some violations. The agency reports that its materials may serve as a pretext for an earlier revocation of Venineft's license.
Oil reserves at the Veninsky block are estimated at 169.4 million metric tons, and gas reserves at 258.1 billion cu m. The Veninsky license covers nearly 5,300 sq km of the shelf on the Sea of Okhotsk with depths from 25 m to 150 m. Rosneft holds a 74.9% stake and Sinopec a 25.1% stake in the project.
Violations revealed in Venineft's activities include exceeding limits for discharging waste, oil spills during bunkering and also the company's failure to comply with previous Rosprirodnadzor instructions after the last inspection. Apart from this, the agency said that the exploration program under which the engineering and geological survey was conducted had not been backed by a positive expert examination report.
Rosneft has not received yet any official papers from Rosprirodnadzor, Nikolai Manvelov, head of Rosneft's information department, told RBK daily on May 13.
Such radical measures like revoking the license threatened by Rosprirodnadzor are unlikely to be happen, said Yekaterina Kravchenko, an analyst at BrokerCreditService. The conflict will probably be settled at the negotiating table, and when Venineft implements some other the recommended measures, all claims will be waived, said Natalia Milchakova from the Otkrytie (Discovery) finance corporation.
The revocation of the license will require a new tender which, in turn, will delay the development of the license area. The government is not interested in this. Considering the participation of a foreign partner in the project, the revocation of the license may lead to negative consequences, including political ones, Kravchenko said.
Experts say that Rosprirodnadzor's claims against Venineft may hinder Rosneft's negotiations with India's ONGC which, according to earlier reports, wants to buy out Rosneft's 23% stake in the Veninsky block. According to experts, the transaction may be worth nearly $300 million. The sides have made no official comment on this information.


Udokan hopefuls fail to reach agreement

Companies wishing to develop the world's third largest Udokan copper deposit have requested the tender be postponed for a month. All requests will be accepted by mid-June, and the tender's results announced on August 14.
According to off-the-record reports, this was mostly done in the interests of an alliance between the state-owned defense industry super-corporation Rostekhonologii, nickel giant Norilsk Nickel and one of Russia's fastest growing mining and metallurgical holdings Metalloinvest because they have so far failed to coordinate joint operations.
The Udokan deposit in the Trans-Baikal area in East Siberia contains 15% of the world's copper reserves. As of January 1, 2008, its B+C1 category reserves totaled 14.4 million metric tons of copper ore (copper content, 1.56%), 7,300 metric tons of silver and 1.9 metric tons of gold.
A concerned official said on condition of anonymity that the tender's deadline had been postponed on the initiative of Rostekhonologii CEO Sergei Chemezov. He said Chemezov and Norilsk Nickel co-owner Vladimir Potanin were establishing an alliance posthaste.
The source said Norilsk Nickel wanted its partner to provide solid cooperation guarantees, but that Chemezov had not yet established control over Mongolia's mining and metals giants Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetmet.
Rostekhonologii wants to buy a 49% stake in both Russian-Mongolian joint ventures as part of a plan to set up an ore-mining and metallurgical company together with Norilsk Nickel and Metalloinvest.
Under the same project, the partners are to bid in the Udokan tender.
Chemezov briefed former President Vladimir Putin on the project but did not have time to receive the required documents.
A spokesperson for the Russian Copper consortium (comprising transport monopoly Russian Railways, the Ural Ore Mining and Metallurgical Company and Vnesheconombank), another bidder for the Udokan deposit, said the choice of winner would be politically motivated.
"I would not be surprised if the situation becomes even more complicated and the tender's results are revised," the source told the paper.
Kirill Chuiko, an analyst at Uralsib Financial Company, said the Udokan deposit's unique status implied an exception to the rules, and that he did not know who would win the tender.
He said Rostekhonologii's political resource had made it possible to put off the tender and could also help determine its results.

RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала