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    LONDON, March 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The Russian oil company Rosneft and British Petroleum have reached an agreement to jointly develop the Sakhalin 5 project in the Russian Far East, Rosneft's first vice president Sergei Alexeyev told journalists in London.

    When answering the questions of a RIA Novosti correspondent, he said that the parties would sign the agreement on the main conditions of cooperation on March 5th. Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov will sign it on behalf of the Russian party and one of the BP executive board members who had participated in the talks would sign it on behalf of the British party.

    According to Alexeyev, the final agreement "was preceded by 1.5 year of fruitful, intensive work".

    "It is very important that the parties are ready to invest in geologic exploration before permission of industrial production is given," he pointed out.

    When estimating the project's total cost, the vice president said that it would amount to approximately $3-3.5 billion, and $150-170 million out of the sum would be spent to explore deposits till about 2008.

    Alexeyev described the project as "a successful investment move taken by BP".

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