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Azerbaijan to increase oil production

Azerbaijan plans to produce some 50 million metric tons (370 million bbl) of oil this year, an increase of 20% from 2007, the country’s president Ilham Aliyev told an oil and gas conference in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Tuesday.

Oil production in Azerbaijan grew 14.1% year-on-year in January-April to 15.8 million metric tons (116.1 million bbl). The president added that a further 20% increase in the country’s oil output, to 60 million metric tons (444 million bbl), would follow in 2009.

Azerbaijan holds vast oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea, which it exports to neighboring Georgia, Turkey, and Europe through three pipelines - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan via Georgia to Turkey, Baku-Novorossiisk, which links the Azeri capital with the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, and Baku-Supsa to Georgia.

Azerbaijan’s oil exports stood at 17.2 million metric tons (126.4 million bbl) of oil in January-April 2008, up 4.7 million metric tons (34.5 million bbl), or 37.8% year-on-year, the country’s State Customs Committee earlier said. (