DAVOS, Switzerland - OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia's No. 2 crude oil producer, is interested in developing oil on the continental shelf in the Middle East and is considering a project in Lebanon, Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov said.
"We are interested in the Lebanese shelf and are in talks," Mr. Alekperov said at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Lukoil has sought to offset declining production at its Soviet-era fields in Russia through projects abroad. It has been stymied in attempts to explore the potentially vast – but largely untapped – offshore reserves on Russia's continental shelf, as only state-run companies are permitted to own offshore licenses.
Mr. Alekperov urged the Russian government to be flexible on offshore developments. Earlier this month, the ministry of natural resources proposed that non-state firms be allowed to take up licenses that are rejected by state-controlled OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom.
Mr. Alekperov also said Lukoil is in preliminary talks with Chinese and Indian firms as potential partners in its West Qurna 2 project in Iraq. He said Lukoil wanted a partner that is also a large oil consumer. He declined to name the companies that Lukoil is in talks with. Lukoil is targeting output of 1.2 million barrels per day from West Qurna 2 by 2017.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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