LUKoil and Hydro freeze development of Iranian oil field

Oct 22, 2007 02:00 AM

LUKoil vice president Leonid Fedun said the joint development of the Anaran oil block in western Iran with Norsk Hydro has been suspended because of US sanctions against foreign investment in the Iranian energy sector.
The field holds estimated reserves totalling 2.0 bn barrels of oil.

According to Norsk Hydro, the Norwegian energy and aluminium group held 100 % of the field, near the border with Iraq, until 2003, when LUKoil acquired a 25 % stake in the field.
"We opened the largest field in Iran, but we can't work there because the US State Department has banned third countries from investing more than $ 20 mm [in projects in Iran]," Fedun said at a conference in Moscow.

Fedun said the Iranian government has proposed a number of other projects to both his company and rival Gazprom, but the sanctions prevented them from considering them. The executive also expressed concern the US could place similar sanctions on Venezuela, preventing the company from developing the Junin-3 hydrocarbon block.
Fedun said LUKoil has acquired three exploration blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa, which are believed to contain sizeable reserves. He said LUKoil paid hundreds of millions of dollars for the exploration rights.

LUKoil has also cancelled earlier plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, Fedun said.
"We've dropped those plans," he said.

Source / Xinhua News Agency
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