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Russian Tatneft Mulls Joint Project with Chevron

Russian mid-sized oil firm Tatneft said on Tuesday it is considering a joint project with Chevron after the head of the U.S. oil major's Russian operations met the president of Tatarstan.

"(Both) sides discussed partnership perspectives in extraction and refining of hard-to-get oil in Tatarstan," Tatneft, which operates in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, said in a statement. It gave no further details.

Mintimer Shaimev, the president of Tatarstan, a predominantly Muslim republic on Russia's Volga river, met with Chevron's head of Russian operations, John McDonald, in Tatarstan's capital Kazan over the weekend.

If the partnership goes ahead, it would mark the second time Tatneft has joined forces with a western firm to extract oil.

It hopes to set up a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell in mid-2008 to tap heavy oil deposits. The joint venture could produce around 5 million tonnes per year (100,000 barrels per day) at 12 bitumen deposits which Tatneft controls, the company has said.

Tatneft and industry analysts have said Tatarstan might hold between 1.5 billion and 7.0 billion tonnes of bitumen oil resources.

The bigger figure, if confirmed, would represent over half of Russia's total crude reserves of 79.54 billion barrels, or 10.85 billion tonnes, estimated by BP in its latest annual statistical review.

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