Russia & OPEC agree on new oil production cuts to prop up global crude prices

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied oil exporters led by Russia have agreed to deepen production cuts and to reduce daily output by 500,000 barrels during their meeting in Vienna.

OPEC and other major oil producers, referred to as OPEC+, met on Friday to decide if the current cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) are enough to boost the market.

Under the new deal the size of collective daily production cuts is set to be deepened to 1.7 million barrels. OPEC states are likely to cover 372,000 bpd or around 75 percent of fresh curbs and allied non-OPEC producers an extra 131,000 bpd.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak says the additional curbs will be come in force on January 1 and will be in force through the first quarter of 2020. Under the terms of the Vienna agreement, Russia will increase daily production cuts by 72,000 barrels.

“Russia’s share of overall production cuts in the first quarter [of 2020] will be 300,000 barrels per day,” Novak said.

Riaydh says it will cut its daily output by an additional 167,000 barrels. Venezuela, which is currently under harsh US sanctions, has been exempted of OPEC+ curbs, the country’s minister said at a news conference.

When OPEC held a smaller meeting on Thursday, the organization’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, called on more radical production cuts. The kingdom also reportedly threatened to boost oil production unilaterally if other signatories of the deal failed to adhere to the agreement.

Both global benchmarks Brent and WTI were down on Friday despite posting gains a day earlier. Brent was trading at $63.15 a barrel at 13:40pm GMT, while West Texas Intermediate fell to $58.00.

Russian-Ukrainian gas agreement should be mutually beneficial, says PM

Ukraine can receive Russian gas directly at a lower price compared to reverse-flow supplies, but a win-win solution has to be found, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) TV program.

“Whether they (the Ukrainian authorities) want that or not, it is clear that in this case it is necessary to agree on some kind of zero option. One may like it or not, but that should be a mutually beneficial solution for both parties,” he said commenting on the Russian-Ukrainian gas talks.

Medvedev noted that Ukraine received Russian gas through reverse flow supplies, “but at a much higher price than it could [if it received it directly].” We stressed that to our Ukrainian counterparts in various formats. The price can be lower, but for this we need to agree,” he said.

In the interests of European consumers

“This (the cessation of gas supplies – TASS) is impossible for a different reason. After all, we should think about European consumers, and, in actual fact, we need to think about our Ukrainian counterparts as well,” he said. When asked whether Russia could ban European countries from supplying reverse-flow gas to Ukraine, Medvedev noted that “this is fairly difficult from the technological control viewpoint.”

The prime minister drew attention to the fact that Kiev was introducing European legislation in its gas sector, which suits Moscow.

“We are ready to work in accordance with European legislation, but we need to agree on all essential provisions of that deal. Then we can resume cooperation, including our gas supplies to Ukraine’s territory. By the way, that will really be beneficial to Ukrainian citizens,” he stressed.

Russia and Ukraine discussing allowable capture level in Sea of Azov

Russia and Ukraine are discussing the total allowable fish capture level in the Sea of Azov within the framework of the protocol on quotas, head of the Russian Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov told reporters.

“We held the commission meeting. We are discussing with them [with Ukraine] the total allowable capture level that can be in the Sea of Azov,” the official said.

Russia and Ukraine reached consensus in talks related to signing of the fishing quotas protocol for the Sea of Azov for 2020, deputy head of the agency Vasily Sokolov said earlier. The protocol on quotas will be signed by the countries by 2019 year-end, he said.

The protocol on use of natural resources in the Sea of Azov is signed annually between Russia and Ukraine.

The Sea of Azov is the interior sea of two countries – Russia and Ukraine. Fisheries are regulated by the bilateral Russian-Ukrainian commission.

Tatarstan ready to expand ties with Uzbekistan, says president

The Republic of Tatarstan sees cooperation with Uzbekistan as very importaant and is ready to contribute to the expansion of business ties, said the press service of the head of the Russian region on Tuesday, following the results of the Tatarstan-Uzbekistan business forum in Tashkent.

“Our republic sees development of cooperation with Uzbekistan as a very important task and we will be glad to expand mutually beneficial ties. We are ready to provide all the necessary support. <…> Last year, our trade turnover increased by 57% reaching $146 million. In nine months of 2019, the trade turnover almost equaled the annual average of 2018 and amounted to $141 million,” said Minnikhanov as quoted by the press service.

Minnikhanov invited the business circles of Uzbekistan headed by Deputy Prime Minister Eler Ganiev to visit Tatarstan in order to better understand the region. Speaking about successful examples of cooperation, he recalled the launch of the second truck assembly line at the Samarkand plant, the expansion of Tatneft gas station network and the supply of compressor, oil and gas equipment of HMS Group to Uzbekistan.

The parties signed the following agreements at the forum: on cooperation of TATNEFT with the Rubber Products Plant, on cooperation of TATNEFT with Uzbekneftegaz, on cooperation of HMS Group with SFI Management Group (Uzbekistan). A memorandum of cooperation was also signed between the Tatarinform news agency and the UzA National Agency of Uzbekistan.

Meeting with the President of Uzbekistan

In Tashkent, Rustam Minnikhanov also met with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The head of the Russian region pointed out the importance of work on increasing the volume and type of mutual deliveries of goods and services. Moreover, the republics have lots of opportunities to develop relations in the humanitarian sphere religion and spiritual ties. Rustam Minnikhanov invited Shavkat Mirziyoyev to visit Tatarstan during his trip to Russia.

“It is very important to expand cooperation in the fields of culture, science, education, tourism. For instance, about 4,000 students from Uzbekistan study at Tatarstan universities. We also have the National-Cultural Autonomy of Uzbeks of Tatarstan, with almost 9,000 people who currently reside in Russia, and together with labor migrants the number of Uzbek people exceeds 100,000. In turn, we are grateful for the support of the Tatar community in Uzbekistan,” the head of Tatarstan added.

The President of Uzbekistan proposed to boost economic cooperation. He noted that he always praised Tatarstan to his colleagues as one of Russia’s leading regions, and urged to use the republic’s experience. According to the president. Over the past three years, about 30 different delegations from Uzbekistan have visited Tatarstan.

“‘Annual growth in mutual trade turnover is great, of course, but the achieved level of $145 million is so much less than what the Republic of Tatarstan and the regions of Uzbekistan could have,” said Mirziyoyev, inviting the working groups of the two republics to draft detailed plans for implementing the signed agreements and report on achievements on a quarterly basis.

Trade between Russia and UK may grow to $15bln by end of 2019

Trade between Russia and the UK may grow to $15 bln by the end of the year mainly thanks to the growth of Russian non-oil-and gas exports to the UK, Boris Abramov, Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom, said at the opening the 5th Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF) in London.

“This year our bilateral trade is growing faster than in the previous year and by the end of 2019 we expect the trade to reach $15 bln,” he said.

According to Russian statistics, at the end of 2018, the volume of the bilateral trade grew 8% year-on-year and amounted to $13.7 bln.

The trade representative drew attention to the fact that the share of non-energy exports in the structure of Russian exports is growing.

“In the first nine months of the year, our non-energy export to the UK showed 22% growth,” Abramov said.

“Another positive sign is the increase of our bilateral investments. Direct investments from the UK to Russia amounted to $2.5 bln last year having increased by 21%. Direct investments from Russia to the UK amounted to $3.8 bln having skyrocketed from less than $200 mln a year earlier,” the trade representative said.

“Despite the volatility of the global economy and market uncertainty, despite Brexit we are optimistic about our business relations with the UK,” Abramov concluded.

The Russian-British Business Forum is sponsored by the Russian trade mission in the UK together and the Roscongress Foundation. This year the forum’s main topic is Digital Infrastructure and Industries.

Russia to continue taking part in World Economic Forum, says Putin

Russia will continue taking part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the outcomes of the meeting with WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab.

“We have always maintained ties with your forum, the one you founded, and our ties will continue. Of course, representatives of Russia have always taken part in the events organized by you, and they will continue doing so,” he said.

Putin noted that the global economy is currently facing various challenges. The global GDP rate is decreasing, while according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), global trade might reach 1.2% instead of the previously predicted 4%, the Russian leader added.

“This is why international platforms such as yours – the World Economic Forum in Davos – are in high demand. They provide a great deal of benefit, supporting people in their goal to work openly, in accordance with the existing international law, establishing contacts between entrepreneurs and between government officials,” Putin said.

The Russian leader reminded that Russia also holds business events aimed to establish working ties with its partners in St. Petersburg, in the Far East, in Southern Russia and in Siberia. “We follow your example,” the Russian leader said.

Russia’s Kuban presents wines at Chinese expo to boost exports

A delegation from Russia’s Krasnodar Region, which included both the authorities and producers, presented wines at an international exhibition in China’s Shanghai for the first time to promote the brand of Russian wines and increase the exports share, press service of the Krasnodar Region’s administration said in a statement on Thursday.

“Wines from Kuban were presented at an international expo in Shanghai,” the statement said. “Business negotiations were held between representatives of wine producers and Chinese distributors,” the press service added.

Kuban already exports vegetable oils, ice cream and wines to the Asian producers, though the region is interested in boosting the volumes of wine exports to China, according to the information provided by the region’s department of investment and SMEs development. Moreover, the participation in the expo will help promote the whole brand of Russian wines on the global market, it noted.

Earlier reports said that Russia’s Krasnodar Region initiated the creation of a ‘Russian wine’ brand, which is currently under development.

The Krasnodar Region is Russia’s leading region in terms of wine trade, which is home to one third of all vinelands in the country and where 48% of the Russian wine and 32% of the Russian sparkling wine is produced. The share of the Krasnodar Region in total Russian vinelands equals 30%. In 2019, the Krasnodar Region increased wine exports by 7% compared with 2018, particularly due to starting supplies to five more countries – the UK, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, and Canada.

Direct Russian investments in Azerbaijan amount to about $1.5b

Direct Russian investments in Azerbaijan amount to about $1.5 billion, Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matviyenko said at the 10th Russia-Azerbaijan Interregional Forum in Moscow.

Matviyenko noted that about 700 joint ventures of the two countries operate in the Azerbaijani market.

“Over the past years, tremendous work has been done to deepen trade and economic ties between Russia and Azerbaijan,” the chairperson added. “We already see its practical results. Mutual trade turnover last year grew by almost 14 percent and amounted to about $2.5 billion. Russia is Azerbaijan’s main trade partner in the import and export of non-oil sector goods.”

Matviyenko also emphasized intensive cooperation in the transport sector, in particular as part of the formation of the North-South corridor.

The chairperson expressed confidence that the corridor will become the most important transport artery of Eurasia and will make it possible to significantly accelerate the cargo transportation from South Asia to Europe via Russia and Azerbaijan.

Matviyenko believes that in order to further strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, it is necessary to maximize the use of mechanisms for interregional cooperation.

The 10th Russia-Azerbaijan Interregional Forum is being held Nov. 22-23 in Moscow with organizational support from Russia’s Ministry for Economic Development and Azerbaijan’s Economy Ministry.

Russia wants to develop cooperation with Japan in hi-tech sector

Russia is highly interested in developing cooperation with Japan in the hi-tech sector, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Saturday.

“We have many large projects with Japan,” Russia’s top diplomat pointed out.

“The Japanese want to participate both in expanding the Sakhalin [hydrocarbon] projects and the Arctic LNG and other undertakings. We, of course, would like to draw our Japanese partners into cooperation in high technologies to a larger extent. There is progress in healthcare, primarily, in creating hi-tech oncological centers,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Moscow and Tokyo intend to develop practical steps in implementing the accords reached at the highest level, Lavrov said.

“Prime Minister [of Japan Shinzo] Abe put forward an eight-point plan,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

“In turn, we presented a list of priority projects to our Japanese colleagues. These two documents now constitute the basis for all that we are doing, including as part of the joint economic activity on the [Southern Kuril] Islands,” Lavrov said.

This economic activity has started to develop fairly well, Russia’s top diplomat noted.

“First of all, there is progress in such projects as setting up modern recycling facilities and organizing special travel tours to the Southern Kuril Islands,” Lavrov pointed out.

“But, of course, these two spheres are not quite breakthrough areas and are not strategic with regard to developing our economic relations,” Lavrov said.

Russia in talks with Norway over SSJ-100 deliveries

Russia conducts negotiations with Norway to deliver SSJ-100 planes, Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told TASS on Saturday.

“Indeed, talks [about deliveries of SSJ-100 planes] are underway. Of course, there have been no decisions yet,” he said.

In October, the RBC daily reported that the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft company inked a memorandum of understanding with the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle on deliveries of 40 SSJ-100 planes for a Trans-Siberian route, which the airline had been seeking to fly in recent years.

Later, Norwegian Air Shuttle said that it had not signed any deals on SSJ-100 deliveries.