At the opening ceremony, President Vladimir Voronin said the Free Port Dzhurdzhulesht would enable the country to receive oil shipments from abroad.
Moldova's government completed the installation in cooperation with Azerbaijan's Azpetrol for an estimated cost of $38 million.
Twenty-seven million dollars were raised by the Azerbaijani firm. The facility is due to be operational "in coming months."
For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of energy issues in the Caspian Sea region and Russia, click here.
HOW MUCH OIL? The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that the Caspian could hold between 17 billion and 33 billion barrels of proven oil. ("Proven reserves" are defined by energy experts to be 90 percent probable.) Other experts estimate the Caspian could hold "possible reserves" of up to 233 billion barrels of oil. ("Possible reserves" are considered to be 50 percent probable.) By comparison, Saudi Arabia has 261 billion barrels of oil and the United States 23 billion...(more)