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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Azerbaijan to Double Oil Production

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Azerbaijan plans to double its oil output by 2010, the country's energy minister said Wednesday.

Azeri Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said the Caspian nation's crude production, which stood at 32.3 million tons last year, would reach 65 million tons in 2010.

Aliyev said most of the oil would be produced at the Azeri-Chiraq-Guneshli offshore fields. Another offshore field, the Shah Deniz gas project, will account for the bulk of the nation's natural gas output, which is expected to reach 30 billion cubic meters in 2010.

Crude supplies began last year via the $4 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline that allows the West to tap oil from the Caspian Sea fields.

Washington staunchly supported the 1,750-kilometer pipeline as part of a strategy to tap sources of crude outside of the Middle East and draw the Caspian states away from Russia.

Gas supplies from Shah Deniz are soon expected to start flowing through a newly constructed parallel gas pipeline from Baku via Georgia to Erzerum in eastern Turkey. Aliyev said Azerbaijan would eventually control marketing and sales of gas from the Shah Deniz.

"Norway's Statoil has served as the operator of Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company in the first stage of the Shah Deniz development, but the situation will change," he said at a news conference. "Azerbaijan itself will conduct all talks on gas supplies to the European markets."

AP, MT