Russia's new oil bonanza in Northern Caspian

The production of oil in the Astrakhan region will begin in late 2005-early 2006, governor Anatoly Guzhvin said to journalists in Moscow on Monday.

"Full-scale production of oil will begin in the new Russian oil province in 2008 and 'first oil' will appear in late 2005-early 2006," he said.

To him, the regional administration has already drawn up plans for the development of a massive modern petrochemical industry. "It will be not only the production and transportation of hydrocarbons but also their thorough processing," said governor Guzhvin.

In a few years to come, the Astrakhan region will supply between 3 and 5 million tons of oil and products, he promised.

We are also working on new oil transportation projects. One is a railway to the oil terminal in the Ilyinka settlement, said Guzhvin.

A project for the laying of an oil pipeline from the Northern Caspian sea across the Astrakhan region to join the Caspian pipeline consortium system and branching to the Volgograd oil refinery is being considered.

The Astrakhan region is interested in bringing crude oil from Iran for refining and supplying gasoline in return, said the governor.

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