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Russia's Gazprom Introduces Regulations to Raise Investment Transparency

CEP20020920000355 Moscow Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian 20 Sep 02 P3

[Report by Natalya Melikova: "New Order at Gazprom"]

[FBIS Translated Text]
    Far from everyone at Gazprom can answer the questions of where money goes, and how efficiently it is spent. Now the gas monopolist has decided to put its finances into order. This is just how we can assess the Regulations on Forming and Realizing Investment Programs signed yesterday by Gazprom managing board chairman Aleksey Miller. Neither under the company's previous management, nor under its present management, has there ever been a similar document to essentially establish the mechanisms for the spending of funds, and for control over it. This event is also noteworthy in that Gazprom, criticized for non-transparency and for opposing reform, is the first of the natural monopolies to take a step toward the government, which is striving to make their investment programs more transparent.

    Those that the company itself explain that the document was created to identify priority projects to be financed in first order. As Nezavisimaya Gazeta was told by Lyudmila Selivanova, Aleksey Miller's press secretary, such projects now include completing construction of the Goluboy Potok [Blue Stream] gas pipeline, as well as opening up the Trans-Polar Field in the Yamalo-Nenetsk Autonomous Okrug. According to Selivanova, the document also provides for a means to "stretch out" financing over a specific period. Projects to be financed in this specific way include the construction of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

    Those at the company expect the regulations signed by Miller to make its financial flows more transparent. And stricter control over the utilization of funds should lower the company's losses. The document will make it possible to answer the questions of where funds need to be invested, how much, and within what time-frame -- Selivanova says. Furthermore, it means a departure from the mechanism of constantly "rolling over" funds without a specific goal, as was frequently the case until recently.

    Gazprom's policy of eliminating years-old improper practice is dictated not only by the need to put its cash flows into order. The company's very financial foundation -- which, to put it mildly, could be characterized as not very sound -- demands that the monopoly's management take urgent measures. Gazprom has essentially constructed a credit pyramid: in order to cover the interest on its long-term credit, the company is constantly forced to take on short-term credit. It furthermore cannot be ruled out that the new document, pursuant to the intent of the company's management, should eliminate all opportunities for capital to escape into so-called non-profile assets.

    Moreover, the personnel shakedown in Gazprom has caused people to simply cease to remember who is responsible for what, and internal discipline has significantly weakened. The document signed by Aleksey Miller just exactly proposes to make internal control over the work of subdivisions stricter. The preparation of project documentation and the realization of every production cycle should now be performed pursuant to the strict demands of the new regulations. The document also sets time-frames for the development and implementation of investment projects, and identifies the company's sub-units responsible for this work. This is why analysts perceive Aleksey Miller's attempts to impose order within his own enterprise as nothing other than the beginning of building up a new procedure for making decisions identifying the gas concern's strategy and tactics.

[Description of Source: Moscow Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian -- Daily Moscow newspaper aimed at an elite audience and controlled by Boris Berezovskiy.]


Russia: Gazprom to double capitalization in two-three years

CEP20020925000112 Moscow Interfax in English 0752 GMT 25 Sep 02

[FBIS Transcribed Text]

  MOSCOW. Sept. 25 (Interfax) - Gazprom plans to more than double its capitalization, from $23 billion to $50 billion, in the next two or three years.
  "Our aim is to raise capitalization from $23 billion to $50 billion in two or three years," Boris Yurlov, a deputy CEO, told the conference on sustained economic growth in Russia organized by Brunswick UBS Warburg.
  This will be achieved by improving financial results and by liberalizing the Russian gas market, Yurlov said. Gazprom also believes that better corporate transparency and structure, and a more aggressive information policy will help achieve this goal. Gazprom's capitalization was $12 billion-$13 billion in 2001.
  The company's draft 2003 budget calls for cost-cutting to the tune of 30 billion rubles. In the first half of 2002, Gazprom reduced costs by 10 billion rubles.
  Gazprom plans to borrow 120 billion rubles or $4 billion in 2003 - 70% of it long-term and the rest in short-term loans and notes.
[Description of Source: Moscow Interfax in English -- non-government information agency known for its aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage, and good coverage of Russia's regions]

Russia: Gazprom needs increasing investments to sustain gas production

CEP20020925000076 Moscow Interfax in English 0848 GMT 25 Sep 02

[FBIS Transcribed Text]

  MOSCOW. Sept. 25 (Interfax) - Gazprom needs investments of 900 billion rubles of $4 billion annually over the next five years to sustain gas production of 530 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.
  This year, the company plans to produce 520 bcm of gas and, starting in 2003, to keep production at the 530 bcm level, Boris Yurlov, a deputy CEO, told the conference on the Russian economy organized by Brunswick UBS Warburg.
  The company aims to continue operations at the Medvezhye, Urengoi and Yamburg fields at a low capital cost, and to develop new onshore fields in the Yamal and East Siberia and offshore in the Arctic, which will require considerable investment.
  Gazprom itself will provide most of the funds as it generates more profit. "We would like to see our profits double in 2003 compared with 2001," Yurlov said.
  In addition, Gazprom expects to raise 30 billion rubles this year and 60 billion rubles in 2003 by recovering debts.
  The planned increase in gas tariffs as approved by the government is 20% next year, but Gazprom wants an increase of 40%. This year, Gazprom is expecting a domestic market loss of $2 billion.
  This year, Gazprom has curtained its promissory note program by half. The company plans to switch to project financing. It is considering several major projects, among them the Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field. Project financing will greatly reduce corporate risks for Gazprom.
  As for the liberalization of the gas market, Gazprom has drafted a government resolution to allow the company to sell 10 billion cu m of gas on market terms this year. Yurlov said the draft had so far taken six months to approve.
  He recalled that it would cost 237 billion rubles to upgrade the gas transportation system, as per a program approved by the executive board.
[Description of Source: Moscow Interfax in English -- non-government information agency known for its aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage, and good coverage of Russia's regions]

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