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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - LUKOIL, the largest Russian oil producer, increased its output by 9.1 percent to 20.97 million tons in January to March this year, as against the same period in 2003, the company reveals in a press release.

    In the first quarter of 2004, LUKOIL's affiliates produced a total 20.17 million tons of crude oil, 13.1 percent more than over the same period a year ago, the press release says. The combined output of the corporation's affiliates and subsidiaries grew by 7.9 percent year-on-year, to reach 21.22 million tons.

    As was reported earlier, LUKOIL produced 81.5 million tons of oil last year (Russia's overall output amounted to 450 million), with 78.6 million recovered from Russian deposits (18.6 percent of the nation's total).

    The amount of oil and natural gas produced by LUKOIL on international projects reportedly reached 2.9 million tons in 2003.

    LUKOIL is Russia's only private petroleum company dominated by minor shareholders. Its annual turnover is $15 billion. It provides 20 percent of the nation's crude oil and 18 percent of refined oil. It ranks second among the world's private petroleum companies in terms of the amount of proven hydrocarbon reserves while holding sixth place in terms of output. It is also the first Russian company to have been listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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