Odious Debts

Russian oil giant returns to Baghdad

Victor Yasmann
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Volume 7, Number 10
March 19, 2004

LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov and Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum signed a memorandum in Baghdad on March 11 on Russian assistance in restoring Iraq’s petrochemical infrastructure and in training personnel to work in the oil industry, Western and Russian media reported. Alekperov said the document is the first step toward restoring LUKoil’s position in Iraq.

Under the Hussein regime, LUKoil was a leading player among the more than 200 Russian companies active in Iraq. Alekperov first of all hopes to regain a $5 billion contract to develop the West Qurna-2 oil deposit, a contract that was renounced shortly before the beginning of the U.S.-led military campaign to oust Hussein, the BBC reported on March 11. If Alekperov, with U.S. consent, manages to reach an agreement with the Iraqi administration, LUKoil could gain access to fields with estimated reserves of at least 800 million tons of oil, the BBC noted. At present, LUKoil’s total annual production is not more than 80 million tons.

Categories: Odious Debts

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