WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov announced on Dec. 23 that he expects the construction of the company's oil terminal on the island of Vysotsk in the Leningrad region to be completed by late 2005. The terminal will have a capacity of up to 12 million tons of oil annually. Launched in June, the first section of the terminal has a capacity of 4.7 million tons; over the past six months, approximately 1 million tons of oil was pumped through the terminal. According to company plans, 5 million tons will be pumped through the terminal in 2005. Alekperov added that the second section of the terminal will become operational within the first four months of 2005 and work will begin on the design of the third section. After the third section becomes operational, the terminal will reach its design capacity. Alekperov also noted he intends to expand the railway infrastructure to transport the increased oil production.
Kazakh Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov announced on Dec. 23 that Kazakhstan intends to sign a production sharing agreement with Russia to develop an oil-bearing field in Kurmangazy located in Kazakhstan's section of the Caspian. Akhmetov said: "I suppose the time when this agreement can be signed as part of cooperation between our oil companies is near. I believe it will not take long to do this." Akhmetov and his Russian counterpart, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, last met on October 8 when Fradkov suggested that the two countries reach a production sharing agreement by the end of 2004. Kazakhstan and Russia had initially agreed to jointly develop Kurmangazy in the spring of 2002. Kazakhstan has estimated recoverable oil resources at Kurmangazy of up to 1 billion tons; approximately $10 billion is needed to fully develop the field.
Injuring five, Mexico's Veracruz region on the Gulf of Mexico witnessed an explosion to a Pemex-owned oil well and a pumping station on Dec. 22, according to local authorities. Preliminary investigations reported seven people were injured, but the state Health Secretariat later reduced the figure to five, all of whom had third degree burns. Jose Manuel Olivarez Paez, director of the environmental protection division of Petroleos Mexicanos Refinacion, said that over 10,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Coatzacoalcos River, spreading to the Tepeyac arroyo, some 75 miles from the site of the accident. The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined. Pemex shutdown valves on the company's 30-inch pipeline used for transporting crude from Nuevo Oteapan to Poza Rica.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad signed an agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their talks in Damascus to transport Egyptian natural gas to Europe via Syria and Turkey. According to the agreement, Syria and Turkey will also enter into an economic partnership and attempt to solve the region's water problem. Erdogan emphasized that Turkey is ready to offer the necessary technical assistance needed to pump water from the Euphrates River to Syria to irrigate 370,658 acres of farmland.
A spokesperson for Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the world's third-largest shipbuilder, announced on Dec. 22 that the company won a $931.8 million bid from Denmark's A.P Moller-Maersk to construct two liquefied natural gas carriers and four container vessels. The value of the contract amounts to nearly 24 percent of Samsung Heavy Industries' sales in 2003. The ships will be delivered to A.P Moller-Maersk by April 2009.
Because oil smugglers tapped into Chechnya's trunk gas pipeline Groznyy-Duba-Yurt, more than 14,000 residents of the village of Starye Atagi remained without heating. Many village residents lighted fires by wood but the price for wood supplies also increased, according to Vakha Gadayev, head of the village administration. Schools and hospitals were temporarily shutdown.