Russia and Iraq Resume Talks on Oil Venture

Oil ministry officials from Iraq and Russia have started new talks on oil development and exploration. These talks come on the heels of a multi-billion dollar Lukoil contract that was cancelled by Iraq last month. The official lraqi News Agency said Russia's deputy energy minister Ivan Matlashov began talks with Iraq's oil ministry undersecretary Hussein al- Hadithi on Thursday. Lukoil said it had sent a representative, part of a high level Moscow delegation to Iraq which includes Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, in an apparent bid to salvage the $3.7 billion contract.

The agreement to develop the West Qurna field was cancelled on the grounds that Lukoil failed to fulfill its contractual obligations. Lukoil said it was waiting for the lifting of U.N. sanctions which were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.