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TRIBE NEGOTIATING OIL DEAL

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Ute tribal officials are negotiating with a representative for foreign oil investors interested in building a petrochemical plant on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation.

Tribal attorney Gary Montana said a Swiss banking representative told tribal leaders Wednesday that two of Europe's largest banks have up to $70 million from Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti investors available to spend on construction of a high-grade oil refinery on the reservation.Petrochemicals are used in the manufacture of plastics and styrofoam and are selling for $150 per barrel, Montana said.

The attorney estimated the plant would cost between $45 million and $65 million to build. The tribe would provide the land base and would be required to go into the oil production business and reopen abandoned wells on the reservation.

Tribal leaders will meet again next week with Swiss banking representatives.