(Adds details, background, Alekperov’s comments on his stake)
ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 7 (Reuters) - Russia’s second largest oil firm LUKOIL (LKOH.MM) expects its oil production to rise by 1.2-1.7 percent this year despite a fall of 3.3 percent in the first quarter, its head said on Saturday.
LUKOIL, in which U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips (COP.N) has 20 percent, earlier forecasted an increase in hydrocarbons production of 1.8-2.0 percent. Last year, its crude oil output rose by 1.6 percent to 1.956 million barrels per day.
Vagit Alekperov told reporters on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum that LUKOIL aimed to stabilise oil output in West Siberia, which accounts for 60 percent of its oil production, and prevent it from falling by more than 1 percent.
Alekperov also said the firm was considering acquisitions of upstream and downstream assets this year. He gave no details.
He earlier said LUKOIL would like to acquire an oil processing plant in Western Europe with the annual capacity of not less than 8 million tonnes of crude.
In 2007, LUKOIL processed 52.164 million tonnes of crude oil, of which 42.548 million tonnes at its Russian plants. It has a total refining capacity of 58.1 million tonnes a year, and has long said it planned to expand it.
Alekperov, who became LUKOIL’s largest shareholder last month by increasing his stake by 1.3 percent to 20.4 percent, said on Saturday he did not plan to buy control of the firm.
“I am not setting myself a goal to control the company. I have a different principle, I channel all free cash into (LUKOIL’s) shares,” Alekperov said.
Alekperov’s wife Larisa and son Yusuf also invest their personal capital in the company’s shares. (Reporting by Ekaterina Golubkova, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Maria Kiselyova)