In case of real threat of U.S. strikes on Iraq LUKoil company will evacuate its personnel

In the event of a real threat of U.S. strikes on Iraq the LUKoil company will evacuate its personnel from that country, head of the LUKoil press service Dmitry Dolgov said in an interview on Monday.

According to him, "evacuation is the only move which the company will be able to make in this situation".

At the same time Dolgov noted that the LUKoil management has received the Russian authorities' assurance that Russia will consider the oil projects in Iraq as the top priority in the talks with the USA.

The head of the press service said that in 1997 LUKoil signed a contract for the development of the Zapadnaya Kourna-2 oil deposit which is the largest in Iraq and one of the largest in the world. The contract envisages beginning of all the actions to extract oil only after the UN sanctions are lifted from Iraq, Dolgov noted.

According to him, at the moment LUKoil is preparing service forms and records and is training specialists but the preparatory stage has already been, in effect, completed - "within a month after the sanctions are lifted we will be able to start developing the deposit".

"The leadership of Iraq tried to pressurize LUKoil with a view to making the company begin the development of the deposit before the sanctions are lifted but we did not agree to violate the obligations of Russia as a member of the UN Security Council", Dolgov stressed.

He added that in reply the Iraqi side barred LUKoil from the participation in the UN programme Oil for Food - the company did not take part in the last two phases of the programme".

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