Russian’s Fuel and Energy Ministry and Chechnya’s Yuzhnaya oil company (YUNKO) last week signed a general cooperation agreement. (Itar-Tass, May 23) Detailed agreements on the excavation, transport, and refining of oil will also be signed soon, YUNKO head Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov said. The Chechen government is concerned that organized crime groups at present control most of Chechnya’s oil production and refining and that the republic is losing large amounts of potential revenue. Chechnya has 1,150 oil wells but, according to the Chechen Interior Ministry, some 5,000 illegal mini-installations are also operating in the republic. Both Russia and Chechnya are hoping to make additional money from the transit of Caspian oil from Azerbaijan through the pipeline that runs via Chechnya to Russia’s Black Sea terminal at Novorossiisk. Russia and Chechnya hope that the pipeline will resume operations in October, but it will first require repairs at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. (Itar-Tass, May 23)
Chechen Mayoral Candidate Killed.