MOSCOW Ñ Russia appears to have rescued a $3.2 billion oil
exploration and development contract in Iraq.
Officials said Baghdad's cancellation of the
contract had come amid reports that Russia was withdrawing its support for
the Saddam regime.
Russian officials said the Moscow-based LUKoil obtained a commitment
from the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that the Russian company
could continue development of Iraq's huge West Qurna-2 oil reserves.
Baghdad had cancelled the contract last month amid accusations that LUKoil had
delayed the project, Middle East Newsline reported.
The Iraqi agreement to restore the LUKoil project came in weekend
meetings in Baghdad. Officials said both Iraq and LUKoil decided to withdraw
their complaints that the contract had been breached. The company was
granted a 68.5 percent stake in the oil field, estimated to contain 20
billion barrels of crude oil.
The company plans to meet Iraqi officials next month to discuss
development of West Qurna-2.