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Azerbaijan: Parliament Ratifies $4 Billion Oil Deal

Moscow, 7 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijan's parliament last week ratified a $4 billion, Caspian gas-oil deal signed four months ago by an international consortium and the republic's state-owned oil company.

The Itar-Tass news agency says parliament approved the deal to exploit the Shakh-Deniz gas and oil field in a third round of voting after deputies pointed out that the huge venture would turn the Transcaucasus republic into a net exporter of natural gas.

The field, located off Azerbaijan's Caspian coast, is estimated to contain as much as 5 billion cubic meters of gas, some 200 million tons of oil and 190 million tons of gas concentrate and oil.

The deal, the third venture in Azerbaijan involving billions of dollars of foreign investment, is led by British Petroleum (BP) and Norway's Statoil, which jointly control 51 percent of the equity.

France's Elf Aquitaine, Russia's LUKoil, the Iranian state oil company and Azerbaijan's SOCAR state company each have 10 percent equity shares, while Turkey's state company TPAO has the remaining nine percent.