Pursuant to the terms of existing agreements relating to the ACG project, the consent of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and the current participants in the ACG consortium will be sought before completion. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and obtaining consents and approvals. Completion of the transaction is therefore expected to take place in the first half of 2003.
Commenting on the agreement to sell Lukoilís interest, Mr. Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil, said: "This transaction is effected in the framework of the Company's restructuring program and presents an excellent opportunity to monetize our fairly appraised assets. The Company will continue to review opportunities to divest its interests in projects where it is not an operator. We remain committed to the development of oil and gas in the Caspian Sea region and in particular to our close relationship with Azerbaijan. We also appreciate the opportunity this transaction has given us to work closely with INPEX and we hope to be able to undertake other opportunities with them in the future."
Mr. Kunihiko Matsuo, President of INPEX, said: "This transaction marks an important additional step for INPEXís involvement in the Caspian Sea region, which we believe is one of the most prolific oil and gas regions in the world. We look forward to working with SOCAR, BP and the other consortium members to realize the tremendous potential that this project presents. INPEX and Lukoil, the largest oil company in Russia, also view this transaction as a significant advance in their relationship, providing an excellent platform for both companies to continue to develop their activities inside and outside Russia."
The PSA signed by Lukoil and other oil companies in September 1994, covers the development of the Azeri, Chirag and the Deepwater portion of the Gunashli (ACG) oil fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.
The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) was formed in 1994 by the members of the consortium to develop the ACG filed. BP is currently the operator of AIOC.
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