Russia's LukOil unfazed by unrest in Saudi Arabia

Thursday, June 3, 2004

MOSCOW A leading Russian energy company plans to maintain its presence in Saudi Arabia.

LukOil said it will not reduce or end its presence in Saudi Arabia in wake of Al Qaida attacks on Saudi oil installations and foreign oil workers.

Over the weekend, Al Qaida insurgents killed 22 people, most of them oil workers and their families, in the eastern city of Khobar, an attack that has sparked a flight of Westerners from the kingdom.

LukOil has won a major contract for the exploration and development of natural gas reserves in the Eastern Province in the so-called Empty Quarter, Middle East Newsline reported.

The award announced earlier in 2004 marked the first such Russian project in the Saudi kingdom.

"We do not intend to change our plans for Saudi Arabia, including the opening of a permanent office this summer," Grigory Volchek, LukOil's exploration project operator, said.

LukOil employees have been residing at the Oasis compound in Khobar targeted by Al Qaida. But Volchek told the Moscow-based Interfax news agency that all of the employees were "safe and sound and working according to schedule."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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