LUKOIL OFFERS BULGARIAN COMPANY ANOTHER $400 MN

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BURGAS, BULGARIA, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian LUKoil is ready to invest another US$400 million in the Bulgarian-based petrochemical plant, LUKoil-Neftochim Burgas by 2012, to double the present-day total, said Vaghit Alekperov, LUKoil President, as Russian delegates conferred with Bulgarian businessmen. Leading the high-level Russian delegation is Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

The Russian money inflow will put the Burgas company on a technological par with Europe's best to offer European-standard fuel, said Mr. Alekperov.

It is hard for the Bulgarian business community to penetrate the Russian market. For an extensive presence, Bulgarians ought to shift attention from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Russian provinces for direct contacts with prospective Russian partners, advised the petroleum tycoon. Bilateral ties depend the greatest on small and medium-scale business, added Vaghit Alekperov, who hopes for the two governments to promote links.

Russian statisticians roughly evaluate the year's Bulgarian exports to Russia at $150 million, said Nikolai Vasilyev, Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister. The year's overseas capital investment in his country makes $1.5 billion, he added.

Russia is by far not the biggest investor, said the Vice-Premier.

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