Russia to become world leader in oil output in five years

By 2009, Russia will take first place in the world in the output of oil, having surpassed the current leader, Saudi Arabia, in this indicator. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Yukos oil company of Russia Semyon Kukes voiced this forecast on Monday in the International Relations Council in New York.

"In 2003 oil output in Russia increased by 11 per cent, and will go up by 9 per cent to 9 million barrels a day in 2004. By 2009, Russia will reach the level of 10.5-11 million barrels a day, while the prospected oil reserves will increase by 30 per cent," Kukes said.

By his estimate, in the foreseeable future the prices of crude oil will not drop below 25 dollars per barrel. "Taking all these factors into consideration, Russia will be an increasingly strong player on the world energy market," the chairman of the Yukos Board of Directors believes.

He noted that the new realities make the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries change its attitude to Russia.

"The OPEC earlier viewed us as an older brother views his younger brother. The situation is different now," Kukes stressed.

He added that in conditions of a stable economic growth the prospect of doubling Russia's GDP within seven years is quite realistic.

Kukes voiced the view that organizing futures trade in Urals oil of Russia on American exchanges would meet the interests of both Russia and the USA. "Only trade in futures in Brent oil of the North Sea, whose output stands at 400,000 barrels a day, is now under way here. The current output of Urals oil runs into about 9 million barrels a day. Organization of futures trading in it would benefit the producers, the consumers, and the governments with a view to planning," Kukes believes.

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