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Azerbaijani Oil Group Suspends Environmental Projects

Waste oil in the suburbs of Baku (file photo from August 2007)
BAKU -- State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) President Rovnag Abdullayev has announced that the company has frozen indefinitely money allocated for 2009 environmental projects due to financial constraints brought on by the global financial crisis, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

SOCAR's environmental program said last year that it had cleaned up 500 acres of environmentally damaged property since 2006, a fraction of the total amount of land that requires clean-up.

SOCAR had announced reductions in oil output earlier this year, and last month crude-oil production in Azerbaijan dropped by 8 percent, to 3.6 million tons, as international oil prices also fell by more than two-thirds against last summer's highs.