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Russia and Serbia will sign an oil and gas agreement
Russia and Serbia will sign an oil and gas agreement on Wednesday during Serbian President Boris Tadic's official visit to Moscow, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

The agreement allowing Russia's Gazprom Neft to buy a controlling stake in Serbia's NIS will be inked at an official ceremony which will be attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

A preliminary agreement signed in Moscow on January 25 includes the acquisition by Gazprom's oil arm Gazprom Neft of a 51% stake in state-owned Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) for 400 million euros, Gazprom's 500 million euro investment in a gas storage facility at Banatski Dvor in Serbia, and the construction of the Serbian segment of the South Stream pipeline.

However, Dusan Bajatovic, a negotiator at the Serbian-Russian talks, was quoted by balkaninsight.com as saying: "What I can say right now is that the investment will be at least 550 million euros," Bajatovic told Serbian media. "As for the [NIS's refining] monopoly, it will not exist after 2010."

Under the South Stream project, a 400-km (248-mile) leg will be built in Serbia for Russian natural gas supplies to and via the Balkans.

NIS produces around 1 million metric tons (7.3 million barrels) of crude annually, refines 7 million metric tons (51 million barrels) and has Serbia's largest network of filling stations.

Gazprom Neft, known as Sibneft before it was taken over by Gazprom in September 2005, produced 32.7 million metric tons (240 million barrels) of crude and posted a U.S. GAAP net income of $4.14 billion in 2007.


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