Stabilization of Iraqi situation crucial for Russian economy

The stabilization of the situation around Iraq "is crucial for Russia and its economy", said president of the Committee for international cultural, scientific and business cooperation with Iraq Yuri Shafranik in an interview with RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Iraq's consent to the return of international inspectors is drawing nearer the day when the longstanding economic blockade of the country with the world's second largest oil reserves will be ended and Iraq will re-integrate in the world economy, which is important both for Iraq and for Russia, he believes.

Russia has no more than 2 or 3 oil fields with reserves exceeding 100 million tons, and they are situated in areas that are difficult to access and thus require enormous investments, Shafranik recalled. While in Iraq, two Russian companies alone, Zarubezhneft and LUKOIL, have contracts for working deposits with a 1-billion-ton capacity. "The fulfilment of these projects will allow Russia to revive its economy and to remain a leading player on the oil market," the Russian representative believes.

The European energy balance, formed with Russia's participation, is to a significant degree dependent on Iraq's oil, Shafranik pointed out. "Taking into account Russia's limited export resources, Moscow's presence in Iraq will allow it to remain an influential energy power in Europe and in the world," he emphasized.

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