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Rosneft, Gazprom and PetroSA Consider Fuel Accord

March 19, 2007

OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled oil and natural-gas companies, may join with PetroSA to produce motor fuel from coal and gas, South Africa's mines minister said.

A deal may be signed in July when a South African delegation visits Russia, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said in an interview in Pretoria today. PetroSA is South Africa's state- owned oil and gas company.

Russia's Natural Resources Ministry said March 16 Rosneft, PetroSA and Sasol Ltd., the world's biggest coal-to-motor fuel producer, were planning to build a gas-to-liquid plant in Russia. Near-record oil prices have spurred interest in Sasol's technology to convert coal and gas into fuel.

Russia and South Africa may also sign a draft agreement on platinum group metals, Sonjica said at a press conference in Pretoria attended by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who is in South Africa after visiting Namibia. She didn't say what the agreement is or who is involved.

Talks with Fradkov today focused on nuclear and space technology as well as defense and mining, said South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The countries will also sign a cooperation agreement with regards to water, she added.

Increasing Trade

Russia and South Africa plan to increase trade, which dropped to $420 million in 2006 from $1 billion in 2005. Russia is considering prospecting for ``reserves'' of nuclear fuel in South Africa, Fradkov said.

Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa's largest lender, and Vnesheconombank will sign a joint-venture agreement to provide financial services, he added. Standard Bank spokesman Ross Linstrom confirmed the agreement in a telephone interview.

Vnesheconombank, Russia's payment agent for foreign debt, last September agreed to cooperate with Nedbank Group Ltd. (NED), South Africa's fourth-largest bank. That agreement will remain in place, Stephen Meintjes, the head of international financial institutions, said by phone in Johannesburg. ``It makes sense for them to partner a number of local banks, otherwise they would narrow their client base,'' he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balduin Hesse at

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