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    RUSSIA TO REPAY ITS SOVIET-ERA DEBT TO FINLAND BY OIL DRILLING

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    HELSINKI, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russian specialists today got down to the main phase of a project to develop Finland's deepest oil well, Outokumpu (2.5 kilometers), spokespeople for Russia's Trade Delegation in Helsinki report. They drilled 150 meters into the well at the project's initial phase, which began on April 7 and involved tests of drilling equipment.

    The project is part of a March 2003 deal for the supply of research equipment and services to reduce Russia's Soviet-era debt to Finland by a total $25 million. The drilling works will strike off 7 million euros.

    Russia still owes Finland some $500 million; it has repaid $250 million since 1995.

    The drilling of the Outokumpu oil well is Finland's largest collaborative project with Russia so far.

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