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    MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - There will be no drastic increase in taxes in Russia, said Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. "The current level of taxation of oil companies in Russia is slightly lower than in Norway, higher than in England and is the same as in the US," the premier said Friday at a State Duma session.

    At the same time, Kasyanov did not rule out that part of oil companies' excessive revenues would be channeled to the budget.

    "We should consider the situation when oil prices exceed $25 per barrel, but this will not be confiscation but a token of economic development," the premier said. "If oil companies have excessive funds, they will be channeled to the federal budget, thereby becoming an instrument of a balanced monetary policy," Kasyanov said.

    The premier does not rule out the possibility of reviewing taxation of low profit oil deposits. "If an oil well is depleted and if oil extraction should reach a certain level as part of environmental protection, then we can correct the taxation rate to preserve commercial efficiency," said Kasyanov.

    At the same time, the premier stressed that in 10-15 years technological progress would reach the point of providing oilmen with work in the most adverse conditions. "Ten years ago oil extraction in Sakhalin (a Russian island in the Pacific) seemed impossible but today the risks in this region have been drastically reduced," added Kasyanov.

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