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Azerbaijan To Boost Oil and Gas Production In 2010

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev
BAKU -- Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev has told an international conference on Caspian Sea oil and natural gas development that opened in Baku that his country will produce some 52 tons of oil and 30 billion cubic meters of gas this year.

Aliev said that while production figures are increasing, "extraction is now far greater than our export possibilities."

Aliev's comments come as both Russia and the European Union are trying to get Azerbaijan to ship more oil and especially gas through proposed pipelines and other export routes scheduled to start operation in the next five to six years.

Richard Morningstar, the U.S. secretary of state's special envoy for Eurasian energy, was at the conference and said the U.S. is looking forward to Azerbaijan diversifying its energy export routes adding that would help in "enhancing energy security for consumer countries."

based on RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service and agency reports