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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chernomyrdin Visit Focuses on Economy

WASHINGTON -- Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin held talks with Vice President Al Gore on cooperation to bolster Russia's ragged economy Wednesday, which are expected to include a $9 billion oil and gas deal. During the two days of talks Chernomyrdin and Gore are due to sign documents covering cooperation on space, energy, environment, nuclear reactors, science and technology. One of the most significant agreements being prepared was Russia's agreement to stop making weapons-grade plutonium at its nuclear generating stations, but U.S. officials suggested that one stumbling block remains -- the amount of compensation Russia will get to help convert to different power sources. The Russian Embassy scheduled a signing ceremony for Wednesday evening for a contract with a consortium of U.S. companies led by Marathon Oil Co to develop oil and gas reserves in Russia's Sakhalin Islands off its Pacific coast. The project, called Sakhalin-2, has an anticipated value of $9 billion. A senior U.S. official said U.S. investment in Russia to date totaled $1 billion, but would rise to $40 billion to $50 billion by the end of the decade.