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EDMONTON - April 19, 2004

Alberta Research Council Inc. (ARC) has been awarded a $700,000 research contract by LUKOIL-Komi, a subsidiary of Russian oil giant LUKOIL. Under the contract - LUKOIL's first major research contract signed with a foreign company - ARC will evaluate a heavy oil production technology for the Timan Pechora Basin in northern Russia.

"We're pleased to be working with LUKOIL in the development of one of their most promising reserves," says ARC vice-president of Energy, Phil Murray. "Particularly, as it allows us to take an Alberta-grown technology and apply it to a significant oil reserve half way around the world. "

Under the terms of the one-year contract, ARC will focus on reservoir engineering issues in Russia's northern oilfields, studying core samples and conducting numerical reservoir simulations.

"While the geology of the Timan Pechora Basin is new to us, the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology is very familiar," says Alex Babchin, ARC Emeritus Distinguished Scientist, who first hosted visitors from LUKOIL in 2002.

"We've been developing SAGD technology for western Canadian reservoirs for more than 15 years. We believe it will work equally well in Russia's northern reservoirs."

LUKOIL is a leading Russian oil company with 20 per cent of total Russian oil production and 18 per cent of total Russian oil refining. LUKOIL is developing significant hydrocarbon reserves in the Timan-Pechora Basin as part of long-term growth plan for the company. LUKOIL is the worlds' sixth largest oil producer and the second largest holder of oil reserves.

ARC develops and commercializes technologies to give clients a competitive advantage. ARC provides solutions globally to the energy, life sciences, agriculture, environment, forestry and manufacturing sectors. In energy, we collaborate with industry and government to develop advanced technologies that enhance the efficient use of global energy resources while maintaining the highest standards of environmental protection.

Photo opportunity - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 at 12:00 noon.
Mr. Mikhail Chertenkov, vice president of LUKOIL-Komi and John McDougall, president and CEO of ARC, will sign the contract in the upper foyer. They will be available afterwards for photos with Mr. Chertenkov and Dr. Alex Babchin in the Heavy Oil and Oil Sands laboratory at Alberta Research Council in Edmonton. An interpreter will be available to assist in interviews with Mr. Chertenkov.
 

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For further information:

Jodi Tauber
Corporate Relations
Alberta Research Council Inc.
Edmonton, AB
Tel: (780) 450-5062