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Russian Lukoil Considers Re-Entry into Iranian Oil

Russian Lukoil has announced its preparedness to return to Iran's Anaran oil project once the US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic's energy sector are lifted.

Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil were jointly prospecting for oil in Iran's Anaran block but were forced to abandon the project due to the US-led and EU sanctions against Iran.

Lukoil reportedly lost $63 million after it was forced to withdraw from the project in March 2010.

Related Article: Statoil, Total Withdraw from Turkey Pipeline Plans

"We are ready to implement the project [Anaran] on our own once the sanctions are lifted," Russian media quoted Lukoil Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov as saying on Wednesday.

On 20 January, the Council of the European Union suspended part of the sanctions it had imposed against Iran following an interim, 6-month nuclear deal reached in November between Tehran and the P5+1 countries—the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.

Under the November agreement with six major powers, Iranian authorities will see limited sanctions relief in exchange for steps to curb the country’s nuclear program.

Related Article: Russian Lukoil to Double Overseas Output with Iraq

The interim agreement gives Iran access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad if it carries out its part of the deal, while parties continue negotiations for a final agreement within a year. The next round of talks is set to begin on 18 February.

Iran is planning to increase its oil production by an additional 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2014, provided that negotiations result in the easing of oil export sanctions imposed in 2012 by the West.

Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan also called for stronger cooperation between Iran and Russia on gas exploration in the Caspian Sea, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

Earlier this month, Iran agreed to make changes to legislation to enable Russian companies to get a stake in mineral extraction projects in Iran, according to Russian media reports.

By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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