A potential risk of YUKOS going bankrupt after Yuganskneftegaz is sold still exists, Deputy Economy Minister Andrey Sharonov told reporters today. "As far as I know, the issue concerning debts for 2002 to 2003 remains open," he said. According to him, if the amount received from selling Yuganskneftegaz is only enough to settle the company's tax debts for 2001, a potential risk of a bankruptcy connected with the debts for 2002 to 2003 exists.
A change of ownership of Yuganskneftegaz will not lead to a decrease in the company's oil production, Russian Industrial Production and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko declared to journalists. According to him, anyone who will become a new owner of Yuganskneftegaz will be interested in maintaining oil production at the present level. In addition, a new owner will be interested in retaining current jobs and social guarantees to Yuganskneftegaz' employees. In any event, the government has enough instruments and possibilities to ensure adequate volumes of oil production from the company. Such control may be implemented via licenses and other regulations, the minister pointed out. "Russia's plans concerning production volumes in 2004 will not suffer; production volumes and jobs will be preserved," he declared.
The General Staff noted that the document appeared at a time when Russia was trying to deter the arms race unleashed by the United States