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LUKoil and diamond giant De Beers will register a diamond producing
LUKoil and diamond giant De Beers will register a diamond producing JV in north Russia's Arkhangelsk Region later this year, the head of Russia's largest independent oil producer said on Friday.

"We have obtained approval from a commission headed by the prime minister for access to strategic projects and resources," Vagit Alekperov said.

The businessman said the joint venture would be registered in Arkhangelsk, with its operating offices to be located in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Earlier reports said the Russian government had allowed De Beers to buy a 49.99% stake in Arkhangelskgeoldobycha, a regional diamond producer owned by LUKoil. The crude producer also holds the license for the Verkhotinskaya diamond field northwest of Arkhangelsk, where the Grib kimberlite pipe, which is thought to contain over $5 billion worth of diamonds, was discovered there in early 1996.

De Beers produces and markets some 40% of the global supply of rough diamonds.


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