Almost none of Russian oil giants are prospecting for oil

Virtually no Russian companies, with the possible exception of LUKOIL, are carrying out any geological research or drilling any new oil wells but are simply operating those oil wells and oil fields that were discovered in Soviet times. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced today by Chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin at the international forum 'Strategy for Providing National Security in the Modern World.' He said that this was the worrying result of a 'check that was carried out on a number of leading Russian oil companies, not just Roman Abramovich's Sibneft.'

Mr Stepashin commented on the Audit Chamber's criticism of Chukhotka Governor Roman Abramovich. 'When people ask me why I investigate Mr Abramovich's finances I reply that his finances are also our finances,' he explained. 'When this young man took USD 10 billion out of the country in 2001 at the expense of pensioners, I asked myself what is the government here for? No other country in the world will let itself be swindled in this way,' he stressed.

Mr Stepashin believes 'the real threat to Russian security' will come 'when a fall in export profits coincides with a fall in the volume of natural resources produced. Some experts are even predicting that oil will have to be imported into Russia within the next 5-7 years,' he said.

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