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Yukos head comments on oil production in Russia

Russia's annual oil production should be 450 million tons, president of the Yukos Oil Company Mikhail Khodorkovsky said at today's parliamentary hearings devoted to the energy strategy of Russia till 2020. According to him, at the same time, exports of Russian oil could be slightly extended by supplies to the USA, Europe and China. He reported that Russia's oil stores were 17 to 20 billion tons, and "one should count on using them in 30 to 40 years".

Additionally, Khodorkovsky pointed out that a decline in oil stores was registered, and that the energy strategy should determine how to provide their rehabilitation. The law on mineral resources does not stipulate a license for both exploration and exploitation of deposits, which "does not stimulate private oil companies to rehabilitate oil stores", the Yukos president stressed. 

Khodorkovsky also believes that it is necessary to liberalize the gas market. According to him, from 1996 to 2001, oil production gained 15.6 percent, while gas production went down by 3.2 percent. If independent producers are allowed onto the gas market, an increase in gas prices will be less than the energy strategy is planning, the Yukos president stressed. "The prime gas cost is low; its stores are unlimited. The only thing that hampers us is that the market is not liberalized. This issue should be settled immediately", Khodorkovsky stated.

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