Russia's oil majors:engine for radical change

It is hard to believe that merely a decade ago the Soviet oil empire-the largest oil industry ever built-was falling apart, burying under its debris the biggest centrally planned economy.Within 10 years, Russia's crude oil output shrank by nearly half, from 11.5 million b/d in 1988 to only 6.1 million b/d in 1998, with no visible signs of eventual recovery.Recently, with over 7.4 million b/d of crude production, Russia has outstripped Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer and is set to hit 10 million b/d around 2010.However, this unexpected development is no longer controlled or financed by the state. On the debris of the state-run oil distribution system there have ari...

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