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Russia to create oil reserve to stablize global markets

Speaking at the U.S.-Russian energy forum in Houston, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said on 1 October that Russia has sharply increased oil production this year to 378 million tons, compared to 348 million last year, Russian news agencies reported. Likewise, gas production increased to 588.5 billion cubic meters, up from 581.3 billion in 2001.

Yusufov also said that oil production will continue to grow over the next few years to enable Russia to develop a strategic oil reserve. During a visit to the U.S. strategic oil reserve in Freeport, Texas, Yusufov said Russia's reserve will not be created just to meet the country's domestic needs but also to help stabilize international energy markets.

TNK head Semen Kukes said that Russia will lobby to have Urals crude -- which is lower in quality than Brent crude -- quoted on the London Oil Stock Exchange soon. Kukes said that Russia could be capable of supplying up to 1.1 million barrels of oil per day to U.S. markets by 2007.

(RFE/RL 02.x.02)

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