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Energy Watch, December 21

MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti)

Below is a summary of the main energy-related events in Russia, the CIS and neighboring countries on December 21, 2005

* Russian oil major Sibneft announced that it had purchased a 75% stake in a company licensed to survey the Lopukhovsky section of the Sakhalin shelf in the Far East from the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP

* Russian energy giant Gazprom won a tender to geologically survey and develop an oil and gas field in East Siberia for $20 million

* Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said he did not welcome the increase in the price for Russian natural gas but the new price would be within the country's economic means

* An auction for the license to survey and develop two oil and natural gas fields within the Vankor group in the Krasnoyarsk region in Central Siberia has been fixed for February 9, the local branch of the Federal Agency for the Management of Mineral Resources said

* Russian Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said:

- The Russian Federal Agency for Subsoil Use intends to hold 1,000 auctions next year, including 800 hydrocarbon and 200 solid mineral deposit tenders

- Budget revenues from mineral deposit auctions in 2005 will total more than 35 billion rubles ($1.2 billion), a 38-fold increase against last year's figure

- Norwegian expertise should be used to develop a major Russian gas field in the Arctic

* The Russian government said it would raise the quality standard for gasoline and diesel fuel to make them internationally competitive and to save resources on modernizing oil refineries

* Atomstroiexport, the general contractor for the Russian Federal Nuclear Power Agency for the construction and modernization of nuclear power plants abroad, said the first unit of the Chinese-Russian Tianwan nuclear power plant in China was launched December 20

* Russian electricity monopoly Unified Energy System said its net profit calculated in accordance with international financial reporting standards (IFRS) was down 26.1% year-on-year in the first half of 2005, reaching $573 million

* Moscow's arbitration court upheld a $482 million tax claim against the embattled oil major Yukos filed by a syndicate of foreign banks

* Environmentalists have been insisting that the Eastern Siberia-Pacific oil pipeline be moved away from Lake Baikal, southern Siberia, the director of Greenpeace Baikal said

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