The average annual price for Brent oil will be no lower than $21 or 23 per barrel in 2003, head of the Russian oil company YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky announced in an interview today. He forecasted that the situation in Iraq would definitely result in a fall in oil prices on international markets and these markets would see significant fluctuations. However, "the fair oil prices of $21 to 23 per barrel" will be set in the long run.
According to Khodorkovsky, any changes in oil prices do not threaten to turn into "a serious catastrophe for Russia". He explained that the share of oil exports in the Russian GDP was not that large (15 percent) and, moreover, the year 2003 would be the last year when Russia made peak foreign debt payments. The YUKOS head believes that Russia could level possible negative consequences from a fall in oil prices by appropriate measures.