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Interfax.com  |  Interfax news  |  Daily Headline News for August 18, 2017


News headlines


August 18, 2017 19:00

Daily Headline News for August 18, 2017

Digest of headline news as of 7:00 p.m. Moscow time on August 18:

BUSINESS & FINANCE

*** GAZPROM HAS LAID OVER 170 KM TURKSTREAM GAS PIPELINE'S UNDERSEA SEGMENT

Gazprom has laid over 170 kilometers of the undersea segment of the TurkStream gas pipeline, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at a session of the Izmir International Fair.

"The project on construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline, which is designed to increase the energy security of Russia and the European Union, is being successfully implemented," Novak said.

*** TURKSTREAM PROJECT WELL UNDERWAY, DOESN'T DEPEND ON U.S. SANCTIONS

The project to build the TurkStream gas pipeline is well underway and does not depend on U.S. sanctions, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

"We work on the basis that all contracts have been signed and that construction is progressing at full steam. We work on the basis that the project will be carried out regardless of what regulatory and legal acts are passed by the United States," he told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

*** NEW SANCTIONS LAWS NEED CLARIFICATION, NORD STREAM 2 WILL STILL BE BUILT ON SCHEDULE - NOVAK

The laws on new U.S. and EU sanctions are vague and need clarifying, but the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will still be built on schedule, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.

"As for Nord Stream 2, much will depend on the uncertainty that there is today in the laws and that need clarifying," he said.

*** TURKEY CONFIRMS TURKSTREAM LANDFALL NEAR KIYIKOY

Turkey has confirmed the TurkStream gas pipeline will come ashore at a location to the north of the settlement of Kiyikoy, the route that was originally discussed, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.

"From the outset we agreed on a location to the north of Kiyikoy, and our Turkish partners have confirmed this. It is the most effective, the optimal location from the economic and geographical points of view," he said.

*** RUSSIA PREPARED TO SUPPLY GAS TO BOTH GREECE, BULGARIA IF NECESSARY

Russia is prepared to supply gas from the TurkStream pipeline to both Greece and Bulgaria if necessary, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.

"We are constantly discussing these matters with countries that are interested in receiving Russian gas, including with Greece and Italy. Bulgaria is now again part of the initiative to supply gas via the country," he said.

"These are all questions that are being worked on today. I think that now it is a good idea to talk about which area is more advanced. These and other areas are interesting for both Russian suppliers and for consumers. We have a lot of gas and if needed, we can supply it to both [Greece and Bulgaria]," the minister said.

*** RUSSIA, BELARUS ALLOW FOR OIL SUPPLY BELOW 24 MLN TONNES

The agreement between Russia and Belarus allows for the possibility of Russia supplying less than the 24 million tonnes oil set out in the indicative balance, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.

According to the balance, Russia will supply Belarus with 24 million tonnes oil, of which 18 million tonnes will go to Belarusian refineries. The remaining 6 million tonnes can be sent for export to other countries without being classified as re-export.

"We have 24 million tonnes set down in the indicative balance. This is the volume that Belarus has the right to receive. As part of the relations that have been settled there are certain possibilities, including that a smaller volume will be supplied, but this share can be sold by our Belarusian partners, and in the overall volume it will constitute not more than 24 million tonnes," he said.

*** NOVAK: WE ARE NEGATIVE TOWARDS THOSE NOT ADHERING TO OPEC+ DEAL, BUT NEED TO FIND PATH COMFORTABLE FOR ALL

The committees responsible for monitoring compliance with the deal between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to reduce oil production have a negative attitude to those countries that are not complying with the agreement, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.

"We will continue to work with these countries at the level of the technical committee and the ministerial monitoring committee. Our position is straightforward and firm - all countries must honor their agreements. Our position is that seeing as we have undertaken these commitments, then we ought to fulfill them. And we think other countries should [fulfill them] too, so we get the maximum effect from this agreement. And those commitments that countries have undertaken are not that big in terms of the volume of cuts, and of course we have a negative attitude towards free riders who take advantage of the situation at the expense of others. So it is important that everybody honors the commitments they have undertaken in full," he said.

*** RUSSIA, TURKEY DISCUSS NEW POWER PLANT PROJECTS, EQUIPMENT SUPPLIES

Russia and Turkey have been discussing new projects to build thermal and hydropower plants, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

"We and our partners discussed promising new projects regarding the construction of these [thermal power] plants. [We also discussed] hydropower plants, where Russia has a lot of expertise in construction, and supplies of the relevant equipment by our companies, including Power Machines. We're looking forward to working together, including in the framework of producing the necessary equipment for solar and wind power plants," he said.

*** FIRST UNIT OF AKKUYU NPP COULD BE LAUNCHED IN 2023, CONSTRUCTION TO START IN LATE 2017 - NOVAK

The first unit of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) could be launched in 2023, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with TV channel Rossiya 24.

"The first unit should be commissioned within seven years from when approval is received for construction to start. The Turkish side wants the unit to be built in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic in 2023," he said.

*** YEVGENY GINER OBTAINS 25% VOTING STAKE IN TNS ENERGO, ACQUIRED FROM SUNFLAKE

Businessman and President of football club CSKA Moscow Yevgeny Giner now directly holds 25% of the votes in TNS Energo, the electricity sales company said.

The transaction took place on July 19, a statement said.

*** ENERGY MINISTRY RAISES 2017 COAL EXPORT FORECAST TO 185 MLN-188 MLN TONNES

The Russian Energy Ministry has raised its forecast for coal exports in 2017 to 185 million-188 million tonnes, Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said in an interview with Interfax.

Last April, Yanovsky forecast that the exports would total 176 million-177 million tonnes.

"Russian coal exports may reach 185 million-188 million tonnes in 2017... Under the program for development of the coal industry to 2030, the export range up to 2025 is 165 million-220 million tonnes, of which we expect 93 million-140 million tonnes to the Asia-Pacific region. If today's growth rate is maintained, I think that the targets stipulated in the program will be exceeded," he said.

*** TMK MAY RAMP-UP OMAN PLANT OUTPUT TO MORE THAN 100,000 TONNES

TMK is not ruling out the possibility to bringing utilization at Gulf International Pipe Industry (GIPI) in Oman up to over 100,000 tonnes, TMK Deputy CEO for strategy and development Vladimir Shmatovich said during a conference call.

"We are seeing positive improvements. The plant is making a steady profit and this profit is growing. The plant will probably have record output this year, over 100,000 tonnes," he said, adding that the Middle Eastern plant's profitability was rising steadily.

*** TULACHERMET TO SUPPLY SWITZERLAND'S ALPICOM WITH $300 MLN WORTH OF METAL

Merchant pig iron producer PJSC Tulachermet, which is part of Industrial Metallurgical Holding (IMH), will supply Swiss metals trader $300 million worth of metal, Tulachermet said in materials.

The contract was signed on August 16 and is valid for the period August 2017 to December 2019.

The volume of supplies was not disclosed, and the amount of the deal was described as "indicative."

*** CYPRUS-REGISTERED AVTOINVEST LTD TRANSFERS KAMAZ STAKE TO RUSSIAN JURISDICTION

Cyprus-registered Avtoinvest Ltd is no longer the owner of a 23.54% stake in Russian truck maker Kamaz, Kamaz said in a press release on Friday.

The transfer was effective on August 9, 2017.

On that date, a stake of the same size was acquired by Avtoinvest LLC.

Kamaz said in the press release that Avtoinvest Ltd ceased ownership of the stake "in accordance with prior decisions." The shares have now been "transferred to Russian jurisdiction," Kamaz said.

*** MEGAFON WITHDRAWS CLAIM AGAINST FAS

MegaFon has withdrawn its claim against the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) regarding its demand to cancel roaming charges, the online arbitration case file shows.

A source close to the company said that MegaFon submitted a request to FAS to extend the deadline for fulfilling its order on domestic roaming. This information was confirmed by FAS although there has been no decision regarding the request.

*** RUSSIA, TURKEY COULD SETTLE MATTER OF TOMATO IMPORTS BEFORE OCT 20 - NOVAK

Russia and Turkey could resolve the issue over the import of Turkish tomatoes to Russia before October 20.

"I think so, of course," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told journalists, responding to a question on whether the tomato import issue would be settled before the meeting of the Russian-Turkish intergovernmental commission, scheduled for October 20.

"We hope that by this time [by October 20], everything will already be clear and understood," he said.

*** OTKRITIE UNIT GETS REGULATORY APPROVAL TO BUY TWO ROSGOSSTRAKH SHAREHOLDERS FOR CONTROL OF INSURER

LLC Otkritie-Inform, which is wholly owned by Otkritie Holding, has received approval from the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) on to acquire two shareholders of insurance company Rosgosstrakh (RGS), materials posted on the regulator's website state.

The request for clearance for the deal was filed on August 15.

POLITICS & SOCIETY

*** PUTIN BEGINS WORKING TRIP TO CRIMEA

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun his working trip to Crimea with a visit to a general-education school in Sevastopol on Friday, accompanied by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

*** NOTHING CAN JUSTIFY BARCELONA TERROR ACT - MEDVEDEV

Nothing can justify the crime committed in Barcelona on August 17, and those behind this terrorist act should face severe punishment, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"There can be no justification for this criminal action committed by international terrorists. All those responsible for plotting and perpetrating it should face severe punishment," Medvedev said in a condolence message to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Speaking on behalf of the Russian government and on his own behalf, Medvedev offered profound condolences over the multiple casualties as a result of the terrorist act in the center of Barcelona.

*** LAVROV, GABRIEL REITERATE POLITICAL-DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO N. KOREA PROBLEM HAS NO ALTERNATIVE - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel discussed the situation around North Korea during a phone call, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website on Friday.

"The ministers discussed the situation around the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and ways out of this crisis. Lavrov and Gabriel underscored that a political and diplomatic solution to the problems of the Korean peninsula has no alternative, and the Russian-Chinese roadmap for Korean settlement is aimed at facilitating this process. The sides also reaffirmed their commitment to abiding by the relevant UNSC resolutions," the ministry said.

*** LAVROV, GABRIEL REITERATE POLITICAL-DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO N. KOREA PROBLEM HAS NO ALTERNATIVE - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel discussed the situation around North Korea during a phone call, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website on Friday.

"The ministers discussed the situation around the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and ways out of this crisis. Lavrov and Gabriel underscored that a political and diplomatic solution to the problems of the Korean peninsula has no alternative, and the Russian-Chinese roadmap for Korean settlement is aimed at facilitating this process. The sides also reaffirmed their commitment to abiding by the relevant UNSC resolutions," the ministry said.

*** RUSSIAN MILITARY, SYRIAN OPPOSITION GROUP SIGN AGREEMENT ON JOINING CEASEFIRE IN EASTERN GHOUTA - RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

The Russian military and the Failaq Al-Rahman Syrian opposition group have signed in Geneva an agreement that the group will join the cessation of hostilities regime in the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation area (Damascus, Syria) at 8:00 p.m., the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax on Friday.

"The agreement signed in Geneva stipulates that the group ceases hostilities, including the obligation to prevent militants from shelling any kind of diplomatic missions in Damascus, including the Russian embassy," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"At the meeting with Russian Defense Ministry representatives, the representatives of Failaq Al-Rahman confirmed their readiness to spare no effort to fight against the terrorists of the ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra [organizations outlawed in Russia]. They also suggested measures to improve the humanitarian situation in the de-escalation area's neighborhoods controlled by this group," the Russian ministry said.

*** RUSSIAN-TURKISH INTERGOVT COMMISSION TO MEET IN TATARSTAN ON OCT 20

The Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission will meet in Tatarstan in October, Tatarstan head Rustam Minnikhanov said at a plenary session of the Izmir International Fair.

"Very soon, we have so far agreed on October 20, the Republic of Tatarstan will host a meeting of the Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation," he said.

*** KALIBR MISSILE FIRED BY NUCLEAR SUB IN BARENTS SEA HITS TARGET AT ARKHANGELSK REGION FIRING RANGE - RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

Russia's nuclear-powered submarine Severodvinsk fired a Kalibr cruise missile as part of an exercise in the Barents Sea, successfully engaging a target at a firing range, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax on Friday.

"The missile was fired toward the Chizha firing range in the Arkhangelsk region. The distance between the launch site to the target was around 600 kilometers," the spokesman said.

The Kalibr sea-based cruise missile was launched from a submerged position at one of the Russian Northern Fleet's combat training ranges in the Barents Sea, he said.

*** ROSCOSMOS CLAIMS STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH UN SC SANCTIONS AGAINST N. KOREA

Roscosmos does not interact with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in breach of the sector-specific sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the country, the state corporation said in a statement on its website.

"Roscosmos state corporation and its organizations, within their competence, do not interact with the DPRK because they operate in strict compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation, international arms and non-proliferation controls, including controls over missile technology, and strictly comply with the prescriptions and restrictions (sector-specific measures) introduced by UN Security Council resolutions," a statement says.

*** SAMARA COURT SENTENCES EX-COL. KVACHKOV TO 1.5 YEARS IN PENITENTIARY FOR INCITING HATRED

The Volga District Military Court in Samara has sentenced former colonel Kvachkov to 1.5 years in a maximum-security penitentiary, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

Kvachkov was found guilty of the incitement to hatred.

Considering the outstanding sentence, the former colonel will stay incarcerated for two years.

"To sentence Kvachkov to one year and six months in a maximum-security penitentiary and, considering his outstanding sentence, to put him in the maximum-security penitentiary for two years followed by one year of supervised release," the presiding judge said while delivering the sentence.

Nb ar

(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

/Interfax/
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