Source Pravda.Ru

US oil giant plans to invest in Russia

One of the world's largest oil corporations, ChevronTexaco, intends to invest up to $10 billion in Russia. The news was announced in a statement from the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry, Izvestia reports. Last Friday, Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko met the US company's CEO, David O'Reilly. The meeting passed inconspicuously, but the results are a good example of the new rules that are to be applied to the Russian oil business from now on. Decisions are to be made by investors and the government, and then the government will make the relevant announcement. So far, Chevron's presence in Russia has been a modest (in energy terms) one billion dollars invested in the Caspian pipeline consortium. An even more modest $50 million, which was invested in a production sharing agreement with ExxonMobil in Sakhalin 3, was lost after a government committee annulled the results of a 1993 tender in January 2004.

The international investment community simply wants to see oil companies doing business in Russia, Izvestia points out. The Russian government does not oppose this. As Khristenko emphasised at the meeting, doubling the country's GDP would be impossible without foreign investment. According to him, efficient use of this investment (particularly ChevronTexaco's) could positively influence not only the fuel and energy sphere, but also the Russian economy on the whole.

ChevronTexaco's official reaction reads as follows, "We are considering the possibility of investing from $5 to 10 billion in the Russian energy sphere as soon as we have the opportunity." The opportunity may appear very soon, the newspaper points out. Moreover, there could be many of them. The first real one will be in the third quarter of 2004 when the government will sell 7.59% of its shares in LUKoil.

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