Foreign dollars for Mongolia boost

Mongolia is looking for foreign investors to help it boost domestic crude oil production tenfold in the next three years, a senior Mongolian diplomat said today. 

The increase in crude production to 10 million barrels a year from 1 million in 2009 would coincide with construction of Mongolia's first oil refinery, enabling the land-locked country to reduce its dependence on neighbouring Russia for gasoline and other refined petroleum goods, Mongolia's ambassador to Australia, Tserendorj Jambaldorj, told Reuters.

The move is the latest by Mongolia to exploit vast untapped natural resources with the help of billions of dollars in foreign capital as it seeks more economic autonomy from its neighbours.

"Right now we export all our crude oil to China and are 100% dependent on Russia, and to a small degree on Kazakhstan and China for oil products," Jambaldorj said.

"We have a plan to build a refinery in Mongolia in order to not be dependent on imports."

Mongolia sits on vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth and analysts say it could be one of the fastest growing economies of the next decade and a key investment target for global resources companies.

Foreign investors are watching to see if the country's fledgling democratic government can build needed infrastructure, improve the rule of law and negotiate its way through the geopolitical pressures exerted by Russia and China.


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