Russian oil firm Tatneft said Thursday October 18 it would supply Iraq with equipment by the end of November to drill 45 wells under a contract with another Russian firm Zarubezhneft, Interfax news agency reported.
Tatneft Deputy General Director Khamit Kaveyev was quoted as saying that in December Tatneft would supply Iraq with equipment to drill another 33 wells as part of a separate contract.
Iraq and Zarubezhneft signed a contract in 1999 for the 45 drillings, and got approval from the UN Security Council in December 2000. Tatneft has stressed that the UN embargo on Iraq did not include operations aimed at boosting Iraqi supply. The Russian group is preparing to sign several other contracts with Iraq on prospection and oil extraction technologies, Interfax said.
Iraq called last month on Russian oil firms to tender for a variety of oil extraction projects aimed at increasing its production capacity. In July Moscow succeeded, with Iraqi approval, in stalling a US-British project before the UN Security Council that would have modified the 1996 UN "food-for-oil" regime in order to increase Baghdad's capacity to buy humanitarian supplies such as medicines.
Since the "food-for-oil" regime was introduced, trade in oil between Russia and Iraq has totaled $6 billion (6.7 billion euros), according to Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohamed Rashid. Last month Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said Russian companies had won contracts worth $40 billion to help develop Iraq's oil and gas, petrochemical and industrial sectors. — (AFP, Moscow)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)