Lukoil Ready to Hold Talks Over Oil Project on Iraqi Terms

Lukoil is ready to take part in the West Qurnah-1 project on the Iraqi Oil Ministry's terms, the head of the company, Vagit Alekperov, reported to journalists on Thursday.

"We have let it be known to Iraq's Oil Ministry that the consortium of Lukoil and ConocoPhillips is ready to enter into direct talks concerning the Western Qurnah-1 project on the terms that were announced earlier by Iraq's Oil Ministry," said Alekperov.

According to Alekperov, a message to this effect was passed on to Iraq's Oil Ministry by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Saltanov during the recent visit to Iraq by a Russian delegation, which also included the head of Lukoil.

"We hope that direct talks on this project will start in the middle of October on the terms that were prepared by Iraq's Oil Ministry for the first round," said Alekperov.

The Iraqi authorities held the first round of talks on Western Qurnah-1 this summer. Lukoil took part in them, but without result. Alekperov explained the end of the project's proceedings by pointing to the unfavorable economic terms for Lukoil.

Answering a question posed by journalists regarding the reasons why the company has changed its view on Western Qurnah-1, Alekperov said, "We looked in detail at our own economic performance figures."

Speaking on the Western Qurnah-2 project, Alekperov recalled that the second round of talks on this was currently taking place. The head of Lukoil also noted that the infrastructure for Western Qurnah-1 and Western Qurnah-2 encouraged there to be single operator.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.