November 29, 2013 / 12:55 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Lukoil considers return to post-sanctions Iran - Ifax

* Lukoil no Iran exploration, shipments due to sanctions

* Sanctions on energy investment and oil exports remain

MOSCOW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Lukoil, Russia’s No.2 oil producer, is ready to resume cooperation with Iran when international sanctions are lifted, Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov was quoted as saying on Friday.

Iran and six world powers reached a deal last weekend to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

U.S. and European Union sanctions that prevent energy companies from investing in Iran, and have slashed Tehran’s oil exports from 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to around 1 million bpd, remain in place.

“After sanctions are lifted - definitely. We are interested in all regions where hydrocarbon reserves lie,” Alekperov told Interfax news agency in the city of Perm, answering a question about the possible lifting of sanctions on Iran.

The Iran deal, which runs for six months, includes access to a potential $1.5 billion in trade in gold and precious metals, the suspension of some sanctions on Iran’s auto sector and petrochemical exports.

Alekperov, also a major shareholder in Lukoil, did not refer directly to any specific projects. A Lukoil spokesman declined further comment.

Currently the company, which has a wide network of gas stations in the United States and was once co-owned by the U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips, has no projects in Iran.

It pulled out of exploration work at Iran’s Anaran block of fields and took a charge in its 2009 accounts as a result of the U.S.-led sanctions, and also halted supplies to Iran of oil refined products such as gasoline.

Lukoil, facing falling oil production at its ageing Russian fields in West Siberia, plans to more than double foreign crude output next year after launching its giant West Qurna-2 field in Iraq.

One of fields of the Anaran block, Azar, is a continuation of the Iraqi Badra field operated by Gazprom Neft, which had looked at a possible deal in Iran but failed to agree terms. A Gazprom Neft spokesman declined to comment.

Its Badra oil field is expected to come onstream next year.

It would be difficult for Iran to revive oil output to former levels quickly even if international restrictions on its exports are lifted, the International Energy Agency said this week.

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