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Friday, February 13, 2009

Lukoil sets sights on Iraq pair

02-13-2009 - Upstream OnLine - Russian oil company Lukoil is interested in bidding for at least two of the fields Iraq is offering in an oil and gas bidding round, two company sources said today. "We are interested in both the West Qurna and the Rumaila oilfields," one source told Reuters, when asked for which fields Lukoil might bid. Lukoil may join forces with US major ConocoPhillips bid for the fields, he added, speaking on condition of anonymity on the sidelines of a workshop between Iraqi officials and oil companies on the bidding round. Rumaila is the largest field on offer and alone accounts for nearly 15% of Iraq's oil reserves, the world's third largest. Lukoil has lobbied with Iraqi officials to revive a deal for West Qurna that it signed while Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq. The sources declined to comment on whether Lukoil was continuing those efforts. The company had hoped that Russia's forgiving most of Iraq's $12.9 billion debt last year might help. Iraq has said Lukoil would have to compete with other companies for the contract. But Baghdad has renegotiated and signed another Saddam-era deal with the Chinese National Petroleum Company. Lukoil said last year that it wanted to join forces with ConocoPhillips for bidding in Iraq. ConocoPhillips owns a 20% stake in Lukoil. Iraq is offering service contracts for six of its largest producing oil fields in the first bidding round since the US-led invasion in 2003, as it looks to attract billions of dollars of investment to overhaul its dilapidated oil infrastructure and boost output. Iraq has also offered two undeveloped gas fields in the round.

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