MOSCOW ø Iraq has raised the prospect that Russia could return to
play a leading role in the energy sector of that Arab country.
Russian industry sources said Iraqi officials have been preparing a
review of Russian energy contracts under the former regime of Saddam
Hussein. The sources said this would include an estimated $7.3 billion
contract with LukOil for the development of the Al Qurnah oil field.
The sources said Iraqi authorities have not expelled Russian companies
that have been operating under the United Nations Oil for Food program. The
program expired on Nov. 21.
Nearly a year ago, the Saddam regime announced the cancellation of the
LukOil contract, Middle East Newsline reported. But Russian sources said Moscow is preparing for the
arrival of an Iraqi Oil Ministry delegation to discuss the resumption of
energy cooperation. Russia has presented a plan to forgive 70 percent of
Iraq's multi-billion dollar debt to Moscow.