Russia to up oil output to 500 million tons a year

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MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Presidential Aide Igor Shuvalov said Thursday that Russia would increase oil output to 500 million metric tons a year in the near future.

He also expects Russia's export potential to grow.

The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade forecast that Russia would produce 475 million metric tons of oil by the end of 2005. By 2020, oil output will increase to 550-590 million metric tons a year.

However, the ministry doubts Russia will be able to ensure the declared figure for 2005 because the average daily output rate has recently tended to fluctuate.

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