It is necessary that the volume of direct investments in the oil and gas sector of the Russian economy should be increased by a factor of 8 to $40bn, Chairman of the Council of the Russian Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists Yury Shafranik announced at a press conference today. He is of the opinion that a shortage of direct investments in the oil and gas industry was felt over the past 12 years and led to a decrease in Russia's oil output from 540m tons in the late 1990s to 370m tons in 2002. The forecast for 2003 is a little more optimistic, slightly over 400m tons. Shafranik added that in 2002 in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan oil production had grown 20 percent against the late 1990s.
He also listed Royal Dutch/Shell, ExxonMobil, LUKoil and Gazprom as direct investors in the Russian oil and gas sector. British Petroleum and Rosneft are making "the first steps" in this respect, Shafranik specified.