Lukoil eyes ex-disputed area

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Sep 20 2011

Lukoil is considering to join Statoil in bidding for an exploration license in hydrocarbon offshore fields of Norway including the area that was earlier regarded as 'disputed'.

- We would like to join Statoil in oncoming licensing rounds for oilfield development in Norway, said Vagit Alekperov, the president of Lukoil, behind the scenes of the Sochi investment forum. It is also possible to cooperate in the areas on the border with Russia that used to be a 'grey zone' before, he added.

Alekperov underlines that Lukoil has already gained good professional experience in joint projects with Statoil. In December 2009, Statoil and Lukoil merged their efforts into a single consortium to knock off the bid for a 20-year service contract over an Iraqi oil field - West Qurna-2 (Lukoil - 56.25%, Statoil - 18.75%, North Oil 25%).

Lukoil applied for a license to work on the Norwegian continental shelf this spring, reminds RIA Novosti. If a license is approved by the Norway's authorities, then Lukoil will become the first bigger Russian oil company to operate on the Norwegian shelf.

Talking to Teknisk Ukeblad, Arild Moe, an expert on Russia at Fridtjof Nansen Institute, reckoned that the step of Lukoil could be probably seen as a lever to put pressure on Russian authorities in view of controversial Russian legislation that limits participation of private companies on the Russian shelf. - It would be absurd if Lukoil operated on the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea while the Russian section was shut off, he said.

Lukoil is the third biggest private oil company in the world in terms of proven volumes of hydrocarbons. The company has net profits of over $9 bln and is one of the biggest tax payers in Russia ($30.2 bln in 2010).

Lukoil would of course not be

Lukoil would of course not be the first foreign company operating on the Norwegian continental shelf, as reported by you and also RIA Novosti, but it would be the first Russian company.