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Tatneft, Russia's sixth largest oil company, said on Wednesday
Tatneft, Russia's sixth largest oil company, said on Wednesday it was considering producing bitumen oil with U.S. oil giant Chevron.

"Today Tatneft is working with Shell after both companies signed a strategic partnership agreement on the development of high-viscosity bitumen oils in September. We also agreed with Chevron to meet in Kazan where the company specialists will talk about their technology and the possibility of using it at our deposits," Tatneft General Director Shafagat Takhautdinov said.

Two pairs of wells drilled by Tatneft in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan are currently yielding 35-40 million metric tons of bitumen oils per day, Takhautdinov said.

Bitumen oil reserves in the Republic of Tatarstan are estimated at 7 billion metric tons. The agreement between Tatneft and Shell stipulates joint production and refining of high-viscosity bitumen oil under licenses held by Tatneft and also the acquisition of new licenses to develop hydrocarbons in Tatarstan and other regions of Russia.

Tatneft and Shell intend to set up a joint venture to implement the project.

Tatneft and its subsidiaries handle upstream and downstream operations and account for over 80% of oil output in Tatarstan.

Tatneft produced 25.3 million metric tons (186 million bbl) of oil last year and a similar amount in 2005. According to plans approved by the Tatneft board, the company's annual oil output should reach 25.4 million metric tons (187 million bbl) in 2008-2010.

Tatneft posted US GAAP net profits of 29.5 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) in the first nine months of 2007.


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