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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Experts Predict End of Oil Boom in Russia

05-22-2006 Kommersant
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released research on the state presence in the fuel and energy complex in CIS countries last week, claiming that the share of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in the world growth of oil supply shrank to 30-35 percent by 2005, compared to 60 percent between 1984 and 2004. The OECD blames it on the regulating governmental policies in Russia and Kazakhstan.
Realizing the oil supply potential of the CIS: The impact of institutions and policies, drawn up by Rudiger Ahrend and William Tompson, focuses attention on the role of five former Soviet countries on the oil market. The experts note that the share of the five nations in the oil supply increase has gone down to 30 percent from 60 percent in 1998, according to early estimates of the OECD. The paper points out to a fast revival of oil markets in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union but says that the process is to come to an end soon.
Experts attribute the slowdown in the supply growth to greater state involvement in the oil industry in Russia and higher taxes in the industry The OECD compares activities of three groups of Russian oil companies – state-friendly (Bashneft, Tatneft, Rosneft), insiders (LUKOIL and Surgutneftegaz) and those controlled by financial groups (Sibneft, TNK-BP and YUKOS) in the course of 2001-2004. The report shows that “financial” companies outpace the other two groups in all respects such as the share of exports outside the CIS, investments in the production and the growth in total production.
Problems of Russia and Kazakhstan, the experts note, play right into the hands of OPEC member-countries and new producers, primarily those in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia who may take the chance of CIS stagnation to satisfy the growing demand on oil.
The experts at the OECD advice Russia to return to tackling basic issues such as taxation, property rights, legal protection and development of the oil industry.

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