Tomsk OblastTomsk Oblast (1995 pop. 1,079,200) lies in the SE West-Siberian plain, in the southwest of Siberian Federal District. The development of the territory which now belongs to the oblast began in the early 17th century. Tomsk itself was founded in 1604. Most of the oblast's 314,400 km2 territory is inaccessible because it is covered with taiga woods. The oblast shares borders with Krasnoyarsk Krai, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Kemerovo oblasts.
Tomsk Oblast is rich in natural resources, particularly oil, natural gas, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, peat, and underground waters. Forests are also among the most significant assets of the oblast: about 20% of the West Siberian forest resources are located in Tomsk Oblast. Industry makes up about half of the regional GDP, while agriculture contributes 19% and construction 13%. Chemical and oil industries are the most developed in the region, followed by machine construction. The oblast's major export items are: oil (62.1%), methanol (30.2%), and machines and equipment (4.8%). Oil extraction and lumbering are the major business of the region's joint ventures.
The oblast is home to 6 state higher education institutions and 47 research institutes.