The competitiveness of natural gas will be boosted substantially due to the discovery of gas engine fuel that is designed to substitute liquid fuel in virtually all kinds of transport, according to the concept of the new strategic idea for 2002-2005 that has been prepared by the International Fuel and Energy Association of Russia. Natural gas is becoming an independent and powerful environment-friendly and highly effective energy source and has grand outlooks in gaining the leading positions on the energy carriers market. It is pointed out in the concept that oil will be losing its dominant position in the future energy balance of the world. This is largely due to the fact that the major oil (and partially gas) reserves have shifted to remote and hard-to-reach arctic regions of the world, as well as to the super depths of the seas, which causes a sharp increase in lost investments. At the same time, it is stressed in the concept that the hydropower sector will remain a crucial energy source. The growth of the hydropower sector capacity will take place mainly due to the further development of the hydro-potential of Siberia and the Far East. In the coming 20-25 years one may expect a 10-15 per cent increase of electric power output at Russian hydroelectric power plants. Substantial progress in the development of hydroelectric potential is expected in the South-East Asia (most of all in China) and South and Central Africa.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated