The introduced restrictions on black oil exports may last for 3-4 months,Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko told reporters. Khristenko wasquoted as saying at today's meeting of the Russian government, thecommission for trunk oil pipeline access, which is headed by the DeputyPrime Minister, was assigned with scrutinizing this issue and making adecision. The Deputy Prime Minister was quoted as saying the discussion ofthis issue is due to the persistent growth of black oil exports as well ashigh prices for this fuel on the Russian domestic market. Additionally, thefall-winter season is at hand, and the level of black oil reserves withcommunal organizations becomes very important. All these factors point tothe necessity to take steps aimed at limiting black oil exports. According to Khristenko, the volume of the so-called balance assignments ofblack oil supplies to the domestic market may be 80 percent. The DeputyPrime Minister also reiterated beginning September 1, 2002 a new exportduty for black oil would be introduced, which would amount to EUR20 per 1ton of black oil. However, according to preliminary data, this measure isnot expected to impact substantially the volume of black oil exports, theDeputy Prime Minister pointed out. Therefore the current situation will bemonitored for 7-10 days, and if these forecasts are justified, a decisionabout introducing balance assignments may be made as early as mid-September2002..