Top official says Ukraine wants to import Iraqi oil

A top Ukrainian official said the nation wants to import Iraqi oil in an effort to reduce its dependency on other key suppliers including Russia and Turkmenistan.

"We will analyze the most profitable way of (bringing) Iraqi oil ... to Ukraine," Petro Poroshenko, the head of the Security and Defense Council, said late Thursday.

Poroshenko, a key ally of President Viktor Yushchenko, said experts will consider technicalities related with shipping Iraqi crude oil from Kirkuk and Basra to Ukraine's oil terminal in the key Black Sea port of Odessa.

Ukraine is still heavily energy dependent from Russia, its huge neighbor. Poroshenko said however that the project was not aimed against Russia "or any other (Ukrainian) partner."

Poroshenko was speaking on his return from a two-day visit to Iraq to discuss the pullout of country's 1,650-strong detachment from the U.S.-led coalition and bilateral ties with Iraqi authorities and coalition partners.

Ukraine began pulling out its contingent from Iraq last week and plans to complete the withdrawal of its troops by mid-October. The former Soviet republic, which first sent troops to Iraq in September 2003, provided the sixth-largest contingent in the U.S.-led coalition.

Analysts expect Iraq to produce an average of 2 million barrels a day this year, while Iraqi officials have set a target of 2.9 million barrels a day by the end of the year.

Associated Press

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