All problems concerning investments in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea have been solved, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny declared at a news conference in Moscow today. He stressed that the Caspian Sea was not an alternative to the Persian Gulf. Kalyuzhny mentioned that the system of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium had been put into operation. By 2004 its annual capacity is to amount to 21m tons of oil pumped. On the whole, its capacity can be increased to 38m tons of oil per year.
In his turn, Russian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Ivan Glumov declared that the Caspian Sea reserves were estimated from 15bn to 22bn tons of fuel equivalent, including from 4bn to 6bn tons in the Russian sector.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia