THE OPERATION DEPENDS ON FINANCES

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Viktor Matveev Vremya Novostei, March 29, 2001

SUMMARY:

Negotiations between the Design Bureau Rubin and officials of the international consortium are underway in St. Petersburg.

Russia is represented by officials of the Rubin and military-industrial complex companies, State Shipbuilding Agency, Foreign Ministry, and Defense Ministry. The international consortium is represented by executives of the companies Halliburton from the United States and Heerema Marine Contractors and Smit Tak from the Netherlands.

An insider says the Rubin insists on immediate signing of the contract. Foreign companies demand payment guarantees first. Russia has two or three weeks to initiate preparations to the operation in the Barents Sea or it will be pointless.

On March 11, Deputy Premier Ilya Klebanov said the contract would be signed in April.

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