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Current focus and key challenges

Among the priorities for the sector is to increase private sector participation and promote strategic investment, reduce transport bottlenecks and ensure competitive market access, improve regulatory and institutional framework and setting high standards of business conduct and environmental protection.

The natural resources sector is particularly vulnerable to the risk of rent seeking behaviour by public officials, enterprise managers and shareholders, to the detriment of the general economic interests of the resource producing country, minority shareholders and the local community. The natural resources sector in transition is additionally plagued by the absence of a tradition of good corporate practices and the discipline from developed financial and labour markets. Furthermore, environmental legacies of central planning loom large. Respect for environmental concerns is a key element of developing natural resources.

Foreign involvement in Russian oil companies has been discouraged so far by the lack of transparency and concerns over corporate practices in many Russian enterprises. Business confidence will only return if improper corporate practices are overcome, through both tighter supervision from federal authorities, as well as a reduction of harmful local government interference.

Oil industry

The competitiveness of the regional oil industry depends very significantly on improvements in market access.

Oil and gas transportation are network goods which require the co-operation of all transit countries. A significant challenge relates to fostering an appropriate regional dialogue to muster support for the most economical routes.

Mining

Private sector involvement in mining has generally gone further than in the oil sector. Nonetheless there remains considerable residual state ownership and influence in many countries, particularly in less advanced transition economies.

Provision of adequate infrastructure can often be a significant factor in a project's viability. Maximising the potential linkages between the development of mining concessions and associated physical infrastructure on a commercial basis, and minimising budgetary liabilities in this process is a considerable challenge.

Gas industry

The gas industry so far offers relatively few opportunities for private sector involvement. It is likely that private investments would occur first in related infrastructure and downstream services, such as storage, transportation and distribution.


Last updated 26 April 2010

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