Texaco Offers Oil Exploration in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The US oil multinational Texaco has shown interest in joining the ongoing search for oil and gas in Armenian–officials in Yerevan said on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Armenian energy ministry–Zhasmina Ghevondian–told RFE/RL that the company has "expressed a desire" to engage in geological explorations to determine whether there are commercially viable hydrocarbon reserves in Armenia.

Senior Texaco executives met with President Robert Kocharian on Monday to discuss the matter among other issues.

"The company aims to carry out exploratory work on oil and gas on the country’s territory," Kocharian’s press office reported.

Oil exploration in Armenia was previously conducted by another smaller American firm. Geologists have long suggested the existence of oil fields deep underneath some areas around Yerevan.

But several test wells drilled during the Soviet period found no deposits whose commercial exploitation would be justified.

Ghevondian said the most recent well drilled earlier this year 20 kilometers east of the Armenian capital revealed only large reserves of hot water.

But she said oil exploration will continue because "this doesn’t mean there is no oil in Armenia."

A Texaco vice-president was quoted on Monday as telling Kocharian that the company will soon open an office in Yerevan which will also deal with sales and production of lubricants and car service.

Texaco is the first oil company to consider business in Armenia.

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