Putin dissatisfied with situation at the Russian fuel market

Aug 20, 1999 02:00 AM

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the fuel and energy ministry and situation at the Russian fuel market, Prime-Tass economic news agency reported. According to him, Russians are losing trust in the government because of galloping fuel prices and fuel deficit. The fuel and energy ministry "lacks controls over the oil products market," Putin told the board of the ministry.
Speaking about issues discussed at the board, the prime minister said he was surprised that fuel supplies to the retail market had not even been mentioned. "In fact, despite the enormous number of resolutions, no concrete steps have been made.
It is necessary to organise closer interaction with federal power bodies and regions. The state carelessly lost controls over the fuel and energy industry. We must find out by which mechanisms the market can be regulated, by commands or by market economy measures," Putin said.
Putin denounced energy producers who try to solve their problems by raising fuel prices. "Russian businessmen are saying: "We are not paid. " Then you can push prices even higher, but you still will not get paid, as there is not enough money in the country," he said.
The prime minister also replied to Vagit Alekperov, president of LUKoil, one of Russia's major oil and energy companies, who said earlier that prices on high-octane petrol rise because it is not profitable to export it to Russia.
Prices on low-octane petrol are also rising, Putin said. "Why does not your company invest into Russia, so that our plants could make better products instead of importing high-octane petrol from abroad? Why not develop your own trans-shipment in Russia instead of participating in projects in the Baltic countries?" Putin told Alekperov.
"I hope that everybody understands their responsibilities to the country and will do his best to put into practice all issues discussed at the board, " Putin concluded.

Source: Itar-Tass via Newspage
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