LUKoil rises to the call of Russian parliament

"Russian citizens should leave Iraq for security reasons because the occupation regime cannot guarantee their safety," State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov said Wednesday. The State Duma adopted a statement in connection with the death of one and the kidnapping of two Russian citizens on May 10 in Iraq.

LUKoil evacuated its staff from Iraq, said company CEO Vagit Alekperov. "The five Russian employees of the company have been evacuated two weeks ago and now we have only local staff," he said. The company is prepared to return its employees to Iraq when the situation is normalised there. Alekperov said about LUKoil's projects in the country that decisions on them should be taken by the Iraqi government.

The Oil Ministry of Iraq, LUKoil, Zarubezhneft and Mashinoimport signed the contract for the development of the second stage of the West Qurna 2 deposit on March 21, 1997. The duration of the contract based on product sharing agreement is 23 years, with possible prolongation for five years. LUKoil's share in the contract is 68.5% and Zarubezhneft and Mashinoimport have 3.25% each. Iraq is represented by the SOMO company, which accounts for 25% of the contract.

The proved oil reserves of the deposit are 6 bln barrels of oil and accumulated reserves can reach 4.8 bln barrels of oil and 56.4 bln cubic metres of accompanying gas. The planned investments in the project amount to about $4 bln.

The 240 of the 340 employees of Interenergoservice (one of its specialists was killed and two others were kidnapped) said they would continue working. Yevgeny Loginov, Interenergoservice director of foreign projects, said the lists of those who want to leave will be compiled by May 17 and the number may change by that day.

According to Loginov, there has been no information about the hostages since Tuesday. "The kidnappers have not contacted us, though it is rumoured that the hostages are alive. However, we cannot confirm or deny these rumours," he said. Interenergoservice is working jointly with local security services to find its kidnapped specialists.

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