Russian oil companies will have a hard time using favorable market conditions in 2003 because of a lack of export capacities, Valery Nesterov, analyst with Troika Dialog, an investment company, said in an interview with RosBusinessConsulting. Although Transneft announced its plans to boost export capacities by 16 percent (25m tons) in 2003, the analyst believes that the realization of these plans related to the integration of the Druzhba and Adria oil pipelines and the construction of the second section of the Baltic pipeline system, will only become possible by the end of 2003 or early 2004.
Oil output growth is expected to be around 35-40m tons in 2003, and the larger part of this oil is projected to be exported, since the demand on the domestic market is in stagnation, while oil prices on the domestic market are pretty low (around $5 per barrel of Urals).
The analyst was quoted as saying under these conditions oil companies are forced to look for possibilities to export their oil, paying attention, in particular, to Ventspils Nafta. However, the commission for the issues of using backbone oil pipeline systems headed by Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko excluded the Lithuanian port from the export schedule for the first quarter of 2003.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now