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Moscow Times http://tinyurl.com/sb7l Friday, Oct. 24, 2003. Page 5 LUKoil May Yet Develop Iraqi Field Combined Reports MADRID, Spain -- LUKoil, Russia's second-largest oil producer, is in talks with BHP Billiton, Fluor Corp. and Amec about a $600 million project to develop the West Qurna oil field in Iraq, one of the world's largest deposits, Fluor said. Fluor, the largest publicly traded U.S. engineering and construction company, is conducting the discussions with its joint-venture partner in Iraq, Britain's Amec, Europe's second- biggest rail-maintenance company, said John Hopkins, Fluor's group executive. BHP Billiton is Australia's largest oil and gas company. "We're looking to see how we can help manage the field and expand production," Hopkins said in an interview on the sidelines of an international donors conference for Iraq in Madrid. The U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corp. may help finance the venture, Hopkins said. LUKoil won a contract in 1997 to develop West Qurna, which contains 7.3 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, almost a quarter of those in the United States. The company held back from developing the field because United Nations economic sanctions were in force at the time. Ariane Gentil, a spokeswoman for BHP in London, and Dmitry Dolgov, a spokesman for LUKoil in Moscow, declined to comment Thursday on the talks. The field could produce as much as 1 million barrels per day within a few years, LUKoil vice president Leonid Fedun said in an interview in December. That development would cost about $6 billion. Production could reach as much as 300,000 barrels per day within a year, at an investment cost of $600 million, Fedun said. Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov, Russia's diplomatic point man on Iraq, told the conference that Russian companies are ready to make serious investments in Iraq. Fedotov "emphasized the readiness of Russian companies to enter into serious investment initiatives, directed at helping the Iraqi people," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Fedotov met Thursday with Iyad Alawi, the head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, in Madrid at the international donors conference. Russia has said it does not intend to contribute funds to rebuild Iraq, but hopes to win international donors' support for the contracts its companies signed with Saddam Hussein's regime. The contracts were part of the United Nations' oil for food program. Fedotov discussed those projects Thursday with the Iraqi officials, the Foreign Ministry said. Earlier this week, Fedotov said 75 percent of contracts signed by Russian companies with Hussein's regime had already won preliminary approval. He voiced hope that other contracts for building power plants, water purification facilities and other key elements of infrastructure should be endorsed as well. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk