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Russia, blindsided by the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, is seeking to revive previous Iraqi opportunities.
Excluded from Iraq by the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion, Russia’s Lukoil is planning to invest $3.5 billion in Iraq’s West Qurnah-2 deposits by 2013.
Russian Natural Resources Minister Iuri Trutnev announced the investment following discussions with Iraqi Oil Minister Abd-al-Karim al-Lu'aybi.
If all goes according to plan, Lukoil hopes by 2018 to be extracting 95 million tons a year at the West Qurnah-2 field, Interfax news agency reported.
In 1997 Lukoil obtained the right to develop West Qurna-2, with an estimated 6 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.
Development never occurred, first, because of U.N. sanctions over the arrangement with the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then after March 2003 because and later because all agreements made under Hussein’s regime were cancelled under the new administration. Prior to cancellation of the agreement Lukoil brought a number of Iraqi engineers to western Siberia for training.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com