RUSSIA WILL USE $7.8 BLN
Russia may prop up energy companies Rosneft and Novatek with up to $3.9 billion each from its National Wealth Fund, a reserve of oil proceeds set up to buoy the country's pension system.
Russia's government has promised to support those companies which, under EU and U.S. sanctions over Ukraine, are unable to access Western markets. Rosneft and Novatek, both run by allies of President Vladimir Putin, have signaled they will need help, with Rosneft asking for $40 billion.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying the government was considering a proposal by the two companies for the wealth fund to invest 80 to 150 billion rubles in their bonds.
"We are considering the proposals ... I think that in this year we will be able to take such decisions," he said, adding that the proposals were for investment of up to 150 billion rubles in each company, Tass reported.
But Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency that the two companies had yet to make formal requests, meaning it would be difficult for them to receive the help by the end of the year.
The government has so far avoided pushing the country into debt, instead planning on using reserves - including those set aside for Russia's 40 million pensioners - to support what Putin calls the country's "national champions", pillars of the economy in sectors such as energy and defense.
The National Wealth Fund was set up to support the pension system, which will be stretched in the future as the population ages and the working population shrinks. Using these funds has raised concerns that Russia is robbing the future to pay for today.
Russian officials are increasingly split over how to boost companies and an economy that is teetering on the brink of recession due to the sanctions imposed on its leading state companies and banks over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.
The budget for 2015 to 2017 relies on high oil prices to cover social spending promises and offers little to those who want to see investment in companies to try to kick-start an economy expected to grow only 0.5 percent this year.
Rosneft, led by Igor Sechin, a long-time ally of Putin, has grown rapidly since it took over most of the assets from Yukos in the mid-2000s, and acquired rival TNK-BP last year, amassing large debts.
It will need to repay $26.2 billion between July this year and December 2015, with peak repayments of $9.4 billion in the fourth quarter this year and $11.8 billion in the first quarter next year, Moody's rating agency said in a July note.
Novatek, co-owned by Gennady Timchenko, another Putin ally, has good liquidity, with only a $350 million syndicated loan maturing within the next 18 months, according to Moody's.
However, Timchenko has admitted that the sanctions have deterred financing from European as well as U.S. banks - complicating investment projects such as its flagship $27 billion Yamal liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic.
|January, 22, 08:50:00|
|January, 22, 08:45:00|
|January, 22, 08:40:00|
|January, 22, 08:35:00|
|January, 22, 08:30:00|
|January, 22, 08:25:00|
WNA - Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly since 2000. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.
WNA - India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
WNA - Mainland China has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world's most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
PLATTS - "The domestic uranium mining industry needs US government assistance to survive the foreign onslaught -- particularly from Russia and Kazakhstan -- that has undermined the US uranium industry while new players -- particularly China -- will soon make the situation worse," Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy said in a petition they jointly filed with the department.