Russian Energy Minister Alexander Gavrin flew into Baghdad on Monday for talks on boosting oil cooperation, despite the international air embargo on Iraq.
Gavrin told reporters that he will hold talks with Oil Minister Amer Rashid on "problems of cooperation between Iraqi and Russian companies" in the oil sector.
The minister, heading a 27-strong delegation, said talks would also focus on preparations for the next meeting of the joint Iraqi-Russian cooperation commission in Moscow, for which he did not give a date.
The vice president of Russia's oil giant Lukoil, Ravil Maganov, announced on Thursday that he was to visit Iraq on Monday to hold talks on resuming its development of Iraqi oil fields.
"We will discuss the continuation of all our activities in Iraq that are permitted by the UN," Maganov said.
In 1997, Lukoil and two other Russian companies, Zarubezhneft and Mashinoimport, signed an accord with Iraq's oil ministry on developing Iraq's West Qurna oil field.
However, Lukoil has been able to carry out only a limited amount of work in Iraq so far, with the UN-imposed sanctions crippling Iraq's oil industry.
"It is premature to speak (of this agreement). It will come up in our talks and we will take stock at the end of the visit," Gavrin said.
The West Qurna agreement was the first to be signed between Iraq and an international oil firm since the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990 following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
The 23-year deal, worth $3.5 billion, covers the development of the 7.8 bllion barrels of proven reserves in the Mishrif and Yamamah formations in the north of West Qurna.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )