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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 9, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). Russian and Kazakh oilmen will sign an agreement on developing the resources of the Caspian sea shelf.

    RIA Novosti was told at the Russian energy ministry that within the framework of Vladimir Putin's visit to Kazakhstan an agreement is expected to be signed between LUKoil and KazMunaiGaz concerning the Dostyk project.

    The aim of the project is to explore two sections of the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea" "Tyub-Karagan" and "Atashskaya". Both sections are situated in the central part of the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea.

    LUKoil is going to invest $3 billion in the development of the Kazakh part of the Caspian Sea. LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov said this to RIA Novosti shortly before his trip to Kazakhstan within the framework of President Putin's visit. "Recently, we discussed with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev the prospects of joint projects. LUKoil and KazMunaiGaz have 50 percent each in the Dostyk project. We are ready to begin working already this year," Alekperov said.

    According to the energy ministry, the sides are going to also discuss other projects of joint exploration of Caspian shelf deposits. To develop the hydrocarbon resources of the "Tsentralnaya" geological structure the "TsentrKaspneftegaz" company has already been created which will work on behalf of Russia.

    The coordination of joint energy balances is going on intensively. The oil and gas balances for 2005-2020 have already been harmonized (the volumes of extraction and deliveries). Similar work is being conducted with respect to the balances of electric power and coal.

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