Lithuanian Politicians Divided over Possible Arrival of Russia's Yukos on Republic's Oil Market - 30 August, 2002

Lithuanian politicians are divided over the possible arrival of Russia's YUKOS oil company on the republic's oil market and its participation in Mazeikiu Nafta. Today, Lithuanian parliamentarians exchanged their opinions as to the matter during a press conference.

Yulyus Vesyalka, a deputy of the parliament, said he supported YUKOS According to him, while operated for 2.5 years by American Williams International, Mazeikiu Nafta lost LIT 590 million while the operator made USD 40 million profits and failed to pay Lithuania USD 7 million in taxes. The deputy believes making YUKOS the new operator of Mazeikiu Nafta is the only correct decision.

Andryus Kubilyus, a conservative, insisted that the arrival of YUKOS would become the beginning of a new Russian occupation of Lithuania. The members of the Union of Former Political Exiles and Prisoners agree, saying that should Russia come in control of large energy-related entities in Lithuania, she will once again become dangerous to the republic's independence. Povilas Yakuchenis, Chairman of the union, called on the government to 'stop this step, which is fatal for the Lithuanian state, and get out of Russia's zone of influence'.

Yesterday, Sir David Owen, Chairman of the Board of Yukos International and Mikhail Brudno, the First Vice President of YUKOS visited Lithuania yesterday. The visit had to do with the possible acquisition by YUKOS of 26,85% of Mazeikiu Nafta's stock. This will make the Russian company the majority stockholder. The government of Lithuania will have to make a decision concerning operator's rights of Mazeikiu Nafta.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin