Regional leader says oil refinery to be built in Chechnya

The new president of Chechnya announced plans Tuesday for the construction of a major oil refinery in the war-scarred region, his office said.

Ramzan Kadyrov, a regional strongman picked by President Vladimir Putin last week to replace the ousted Chechen president, said the government planned to build a refinery with the capacity to produce 5 million tons of oil products a year, according to a statement from his office.

Kadyrov, who was Chechnya's prime minister before his promotion, has been at the center of efforts to rebuild the region, devastated by two wars since the 1991 Soviet collapse pitting separatist rebels against federal forces.

The small southern Russian region's only major oil refinery, idle since specialists left Chechnya before the outbreak of the first war in 1994, was destroyed in the years of fighting, and parts that could be salvaged were looted and sold for scrap, reports AP.

Kadyrov has been struggling with state oil company OAO Rosneft for greater control and a larger share of profits from Chechnya's oil. Rosneft controls 51 percent of Chechen oil company Grozneftegaz, which produces around 2 million tons of oil a year.

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