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Turkmenistan is expected to invest some $1,5 bln in a major overhaul of the oil refinery of Seyydi city in the eastern part of the country. It is projected to increase receiving capacity of the refinery to 6 mln. tons a year from current 500,000 tons a year, a Government representative said.

Israeli "Merhav Group" company is running the project upon instruction of President Saparmurat Niyazov, the representative said on Thursday.

"It is going to produce polypropylene, luboil, polyethylene and high quality gasoline. The investments will amount to $1,5 bln", he said.

Since 1997 "Merhav Group" has also been operating another analogous project on reconstruction of the largest oil refinery in Turkmenbashi city in the west of the country that has already seen $1,5 bln. worth of investments.

Turkmenistan has refined 3,7 mln.tons of oil in January-July of 2003, an increase by 19% compared with last year. The Turkmenbashi oil refinery processed the largest part of oil; the rest has gone to the Seyydi oil refinery.

Built in 1991, the Seyydi oil refinery has only two technological cycles - a primary processing cycle and catalytic reforming. They function at half capacity due to insufficient supply of oil from Uzbekistan's Kokdumalak oil field.

In Soviet time oil from the Russian Tyumen region was enough, but after collapse of the USSR this source has died down. All negotiations on the resumption of Siberian oil supply to Seyydi for processing and further selling through the Iranian seaports on a "swap" basis have resulted in nothing. That is why Turkmenistan is planning to build a new pipeline to get access to Amudarya's right bank oil resources.

The output of refined oil in Turkmenistan was 5,7 mln. tons in 2002, an increase by 10% as compared with 2001. It was produced 9 mln. tons of oil in Turkmenistan in 2002, up 12% compared with 2001.

Reuters, 18.09,03

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