U.S.-backed leaders in Iraq reject Russian, Chinese oil contracts

Friday, June 6, 2003

NICOSIA The U.S.-backed administration in Baghdad has rejected a Russian claim to develop a major Iraqi oil field.

Thamir Ghadhban, appointed to head Iraq's oil sector, said the administration has rebuffed efforts by the Russian firm LukOil to reactivate a canceled oil contract. LukOil had signed a $3.8 billion contract under the regime of President Saddam Hussein for development of West Qurna-2 oil field.

Ghadhban said the administration in Baghdad has canceled or suspended three oil contracts with Russian and Chinese firms signed by the Saddam regime. West Qurna-2 is estimated at having reserves of 2.5 billion tons of oil, Middle East Newsline reported.

LukOil said it will continue to invest in West Qurna and threatened to take the case to the international court in Geneva. The Saddam regime twice canceled the contract, signed in 1997. The last time was weeks before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

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