Russian Cabinet Forecasts "Sharp Fluctuations" on Raw Material Markets

The launch of the war in Iraq will result in "sharp fluctuations" on raw material markets throughout the military operation, no matter what its nature and circumstances may be, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko has told RIA Novosti.

He believes that the most possible price range after the war will be $20-25 per barrel.

Khristenko said the very fact of the war's beginning is "hell for the people directly involved in the conflict and paradise for all kinds of speculators - from politicians to exchange dealers." The exchanges' reaction that preceded the military operation and followed its beginning is the best proof to that, he said.

Khristenko added that Russian companies had great experience and vast plans of work in Iraq. He expressed regret that the Iraq problem is tackled militarily, not diplomatically and said that it was necessary "to support efforts related to the Russian companies' interests." "No Russian company will profit from this war, unlike other companies - I'll not point to them - which are largely responsible for what has happened," the deputy premier noted.

Referring to Russia's position on the world oil market, he pointed out that this country has been increasing the extraction volume for several years. The deputy premier recalled that Russia had produced more than 380 million tonnes of oil in 2002, while this year the volume of production would make up around 410-420 million tonnes. The same trend of growth can be seen in the area of pipeline transportation, he said.