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24 Jan, 2008 01:35

Arab sheikhs plough billions into Urals refinery

The Chelyabinsk region in the Southern Urals may soon become the centre of Russian oil refining. On Wednesday, the region's government signed a contract with Arab oil and gas company, Quality Energy Petro International, to build the largest refinery in th

Chelyabinsk region is adding oil processing to its list of key industries like metallurgy, machinery, construction and instrument-making, thanks to Arab sheikhs.

Investors from Arab Emirates’ based firm are ready to spend $US 4.5 billion on building an oil refinery complex.

On Wednesday, local authorities and QEP Chairman sheikh Adel Al Otaiba signed a protocol of intent.

“Our region needs enterprises which are capable of making products with high added value,” Evgeny Eliseev said.

Arab investors monitored Chelyabinsk region for months before choosing the site for the factory

The oil refinery and petrochemical complex will put the small town of Korkino on the map. The plant will be built within two years.

Unveiling the project at a bilingual signing ceremony, Sheikh Adel Al Otaiba, outlined its maximum capacity.

“We are going to construct a 180,000 barrel per day refinery to serve the needs of the region and other parts of Russia,” Al Otaiba said.

Arab investors will hold a 75% stake in the venture with the regional government owning the rest.

In an unexpected gesture, the Sheikh said that every third rouble from the profits would be spent on meeting the social needs of the Chelyabinsk region.