Global oil crisis gathering steam - 24 September, 2002 - News

Russian oil companies striving for access to oil pipelines
A devastating oil crisis is inevitably threatening the world community; the world’s exchange indices have dropped to the lowest rate within the past five years. The oil price has exceeded 31 USD per barrel in New York. OPEC members are in full readiness to protect the oil quotas. Obviously, a war is inevitable. Russia, meanwhile, keeps on increasing its oil production. Therefore, there is no sin in Russia profiting from other countries’ troubles and improving its own position.

Experts say that the rise in oil prices is explained by the US’s continuous preparation for a war against Iraq. British Prime Minister Anthony Blair is supposed to present today irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction. Before the war against Yugoslavia, America and Britain followed the same scenario. Experts say that the tropic hurricane Isadora is another factor that fatally affects oil prices. The hurricane changed its direction right towards the Gulf of Mexico, where the routes of oil tankers are located. At the same time, oil production may exceed 100 million tons in Russia in the fourth quarter of the year, Russia’s Vice-Premier, Viktor Khristenko told journalists after a session of the governmental commission for oil and gas pipelines usage. He also reassured that the pipelines are in good condition and oil production goes ahead of the schedule. In Khristenko’s words, in the fourth quarter, Russia plans to export 31.1 million tons of oil to overseas countries and 8.7 million tons to CIS countries. Unfortunately, Russia can’t export more because of the carrying capacity of the main oil pipelines owned by the Transneft state monopoly. Therefore, Russia’s oil exports are to be lower than expected because of this reason and because of the storms near the Russian oil-loading terminals. However, as RBC informs, Russia’s oil exports to overseas countries in the third quarter are to be 32.5 million tons. Under conditions of an increasing oil rush, Russian companies have already clashed with each other because of access to the oil pipelines. Viktor Khristenko says that the basis of the conflict has already been liquidated. He explained that, earlier, a system of double applications was used when some companies handed applications in to the Russian Ministry for Energy and others to Transneft. However, now the system has changed: applications should be handed in to Transneft only. An export schedule for Russian oil companies is based upon equal access to the export capacities when each company will be able to export 41.2% of the amount claimed in the application handed in to Transneft. Meanwhile, as Russia’s RIA Novosti informs, today, the US Congress is going to consider a draft resolution that is expected to improve commercial relations between the USA and Russia and give rise to supplies of Russian energy resources to the American market. The main goal of the document is to guarantee the US’s energy safety and to find more sources of energy for the American market. At that, Russia’s great potential in the sphere of energy sources is to be used to make deliveries to the US market stable. The resolution was developed by Curt Weldon from Committee on Armed Services in the US House of Representatives and Senator Conrad Burns from the Senate Energy and Resources Committee.

Kira Poznakhirko PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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