Deputies of the Kaliningrad regional Duma voted to support Lukoil's exploration and extraction in the Baltic Sea region despite that the company's plans has caused protests by Lithuanian environmentalists. Lithuanian authorities also expressed concern about possible ecological disasters.
On Nov. 5 hearings were held in the Duma's Committee on Economic Policy. According to the results, the deputies approved a recommendation supporting Lukoil's investments into production, as well as activities not directly related to oil extraction.
The company, Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft, is planning to extract oil from the D-6 oil field on the shelf of the Baltic Sea. Since it is located near the Curonian Spit, special attention is being paid to the D-6 project.
Lukoil, the major taxpayer in the region, has rejected plans to transport extracted oil to shore by ship and will instead use an underwater pipe. (Baltic News Service)
EBRD INVESTS IN TALLINN WATER
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced on Nov. 11 that it would provide an 80 million euro loan to AS Tallinna Vesi (Tallinn Water), the city's water company.
EBRD said it would syndicate 50 million euros of the loan to international commercial banks. The money will help Tallinn Water, coowned by the city and operators International Water and United Utilities, enter a new phase in its continuing development by improving the efficiency of its balance sheet following its privatization in 2001. The loan will also help the company meet EU environmental standards for water and waste-water services, the bank said. (BNS)
GERMANY LATVIA'S LARGEST PARTNER
Germany remained Latvia's most important trade partner after nine months with both exports and imports rising year-on-year.
Over the nine-month period Latvia exported 15.7 percent of its total exports to Germany, 14.8 percent to the United Kingdom, 10.4 percent to Sweden, 8.3 percent to Lithuania and 5.9 percent to Russia. Latvian exports totaled 1.03 billion lats (1.7 billion euros) in the nine months, up 10 percent from the same period last year.
Wood and timber products remain the most important export item, accounting for 33.5 percent of total exports.
In addition, most of Latvia's imports came from Germany. German imports accounted for 17.5 percent of total, Lithuania for 10 percent, Russia for 8.6 percent, Finland for 8.2 percent and Sweden for 6.2 percent. (BNS)
MOODY'S GIVES LITHUANIA LOWEST RATING
Moody's Investor Service upgraded on Nov. 12 the ratings on eight Central and Eastern Europe countries that are expected to join the European Union in 2004.
Nevertheless, Lithuania's ability to meet debt obligations was rated lowest among the 10 first-wave candidates, including Cyprus and Malta.
The upgradings reflected Moody's view that the process of economic and financial integration of these countries with the EU is virtually irreversible. (BNS)
FINNS BUY ESTONIAN PEAT PRODUCER
Finland's state-owned biological fuel company Vapo Oy signed a share purchase deal in Tallinn on Nov. 8 with majority owners of Tootsi Turvas, Estonia's peat producer.
As a result of the contract, Tootsi Turvas, which produces peat for fuel and greenhouses, became a company in the Vapo concern, which will remain under management of present executives with managing director Kai Maeleht at their head.
Tootsi Turvsa exports 60 percent of its output and ended last year with 17.2 million kroons (1.1 million euros) in profit on sales of 131 million kroons. (BNS)
AIRBALTIC, CZECH AIRLINES AGREE SCHEDULES
After extensive negotiations airBaltic and Czech Airlines agreed on a compromise solution for the winter flight season that will allow Czech Airlines to fly seven times per week and airBaltic three times on the Riga-Prague route beginning in mid-January 2003.
Until that time Czech Airlines will continue flying nine times per week as it has been over recent months, while airBaltic may fly as many times as it sees fit. AirBaltic officials declined to comment how many times they would like to fly to the Czech capital.
An agreement for summer 2003 will be subject to further negotiations, though both companies said that a preliminary understanding had been reached. (BNS)
RUSSIANS INTERESTED IN VENTSPILS SALE
Transneft, Russia's monopoly oil pipeline, said it would consider buying shares in Latvia's Ventspils Nafta oil terminal though it would not take place in any auctions.
Transneft Vice President Sergey Grigoriev said in an interview with the daily paper Diena that the company was open for talks but that under no circumstances would the company consider taking part in an auction for Ventspils Nafta shares.
The position by a potential investor is believed to be a reflection of the falling throughput at the oil terminal, a situation due primarily to the opening of Russia's new terminal at Primorsk. (BNS)