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Fitch rates LUKoil notes issue 'BBB-'

Fitch Ratings Tuesday assigned the forthcoming notes issue of LUKoil an expected rating of 'BBB-'. The final rating is contingent upon the receipt of final documents, the agency said.

The announcement of plans for a first note issue in the past four years comes after LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov vowed to raise $500 million in notes this year. The current 2002 $55-million notes issue will mature in November. LUKoil is a vertically integrated oil company based in Moscow, with upstream operations concentrated in western Siberia. It accounts for roughly 1.3% of world oil reserves, about 2.1% of world production, and 18% of production and refining in Russia. Outside Russia, LUKoil has three refineries in Europe and runs a network of nearly 800 gas stations in the US, bought last year from ConocoPhillips, which holds a 20% stake in LUKoil. (rian.ru)