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Vladimir Putin participated in a national conference on the fuel and energy sector development in Russia

March 3, 2000, Surgut

Speaking at the conference, the Acting President pointed out the need to encourage larger investment in the fuel and energy sector.

The so-called natural monopolies, Mr Putin said, bear a heavy burden of supplying the whole country with energy. Therefore, the Russian Government will assist them in their effort as well as control their operation. Mr Putin emphasised that such monopolies could not be restructured without a clear understanding of the consequences it will have for the country.

He also said the Government should protect the interests of Russia’s fuel and energy companies on the global market, and plan the industry’s work with due account of Russia’s geo-strategic interests.

Russia’s interests call for an expeditious development of the resources on the Sakhalin shelf and in the Kara Sea, active cooperation with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and the construction of a pipeline to China, Vladimir Putin said. He underlined the importance of working out Russia’s energy strategy until the year 2005.

Mr Putin pointed to the importance of developing subsurface reforming technologies.

One of the central goals of the Government today is to gradually relieve the tax burden on the fuel and energy sector and on the economy as a whole. Mr Putin said the Government must ensure a clear and transparent export duties system, and guarantee that those duties would not be changed arbitrarily by individual administrative decisions.

He pointed out that the rates of export duties should be directly linked to the world fuels price, and the Russian Government is now busy devising the appropriate formula.

The Acting President also mentioned the need to develop energy-saving technologies.

March 3, 2000, Surgut