November 11, 2003

South Africa - Russia Ties

Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is on a three-day visit to Russia to discuss trade and economic relations between SA and Russia. Dlamini-Zuma – accompanied by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Agriculture and Land Affairs Deputy Minister Dirk du Toit – and her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Yakovlev, will engage in political consultations on the African Union, the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Middle East situation and the strengthening of multilateralism. She will also co-chair the third session of the Joint Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation.

Meanwhile, Calulo Investments, a South African black-owned energy and resources company, had entered into a joint venture with Russia-based Lukoil, the largest private oil company worldwide by proven reserves. This deal would bring Russian crude oil to southern African markets for the first time, Mkuseli Faku, the managing director of Calulo, said yesterday.

Calulo, in partnership with Litasco, a subsidiary of Geneva-based Lukoil, have formed Kepu Trading. The new company will market crude oil products in Africa. Litasco will transfer management, skills and technical expertise to Kepu. Faku said at present crude to southern Africa came mainly from the Arabian Gulf states, a little bit from Nigeria and from South Africa's own fields. This deal would bring Russian crude to the market. He said the partnership marked the beginning of a relationship wherein Calulo would have access to Lukoil's global trade networks, while Calulo would provide their strategic marketing expertise in the southern African region.

The deal was part of growing diplomatic ties between Africa and Russia. "With this deal, Calulo will be breaking the monopoly of two global trading players in southern Africa, strengthening ourselves locally while fostering relations with a global oil company," Faku said. Lukoil had access to relationships in all the major oil-producing countries. Kepu Trading would be resourced with an experienced business development and trading team active in the trading of crude oil and refined products. Kepu was already trading, Faku said.

Calulo Investments was formed in 1999 to exploit opportunities in the energy, mining and related sectors. It was part of the consortium that took a 25 percent stake in Total South Africa. Kepu Trading would consolidate Calulo Energy's downstream energy businesses, which focus on integrating with upstream energy opportunities and businesses covering petrochemicals, electricity and gas. Lukoil, founded in 1991, employs about 100 000 employees. (SA Newspapers)

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