General interest news briefs, July 25

Russia ... Indian Oil Corp. ... Sonatrach ... Reganosa ... Tesoro Petroleum ... Wal-Mart

The Russian governmental commission for protective measures in foreign trade decided at its June 26 meeting to raise the export duty on oil to 27 euros/tonne from 20 euros starting Aug. 1. The draft resolution indicates that, if oil prices exceed $29/bbl before Aug. 1, the duty will rise to 34 euros/tonne. Also starting Aug. 1, the export duty on fuel oil will rise to 20 euros/tonne from 12 euros. No final decision on retaining targets for fuel oil supplies to the domestic market was made at the commission meeting.

Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) is entering the petroleum products storage and retail marketing sector in Mauritius. A memorandum of understanding to facilitate this entry was signed at Port Louis Town, Mauritius, July 18. This is the first time an Indian company has entered the retail marketing sector outside India. According to the agreement, IOC will operate in Mauritius as an independent company by setting up storage facilities and a retail network. The government of Mauritius will help IOC set up an oil terminal at Mer Rouge and administer storage facilities at SSR International Airport. IOC will invest about 550 million rupees in its various operations in Mauritius and set up 25 service stations.

Algerian state oil and gas company Sonatrach announced its participation�to the tune of 15%�in an LNG regasification terminal in Spain. The project, valued at $200 million, is being steered by the Spanish consortium Reganosa, which includes seven companies and banks from Spain. Under the terms of the agreement, Sonatrach will supply the project with 2.5 million cu m/year of natural gas. The terminal will be built at Ferrol, in the northwest of Spain. Construction is due to begin in 2001, with the terminal scheduled to be operational in 2004.

Tesoro Petroleum Corp., San Antonio, announced it will launch a new brand, Mirastar, for its retail fueling facilities located on Wal-Mart properties. Tesoro West Coast Co., a subsidiary of Tesoro Petroleum, will lease the land for these facilities from Wal-Mart under the terms of an agreement announced earlier this year, which covers certain Western US states. New locations will carry the Mirastar brand. Tesoro operates at seven Wal-Mart sites.

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