YUKOS Head Forecasts Fall in Oil Prices

As soon as the military operation starts in Iraq, world oil prices will drop to $14-16 per barrel, according to the most realistic forecast, or to $12-14, according to the most pessimistic forecast, head of the YUKOS oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky announced at a meeting with journalists in the State Duma today. The US military operation against Iraq, in the event it is fast and effective, will result in a sharp drop in oil prices for an indefinite period, which would definitely strike a blow to Russian budget revenues, he was quoted as saying. The head of the No.2 Russian oil company stressed that the domestic oil industry and the Cabinet should take these facts into account while discussing Russia's interests in regard to the upcoming operation. At the same time, he said that oil prices would in any event return to the acceptable level of $27 per barrel in the medium term.

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