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Russian oil giant Lukoil is interested in cooperating with Gazprom
Russian oil giant Lukoil is interested in cooperating with Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly, on the Sakhalin III oil and gas project in Russia's Far East, LUKoil chief executive Vagit Alekperov said today. "Sakhalin III is a very interesting project and Gazprom is an ideal partner for us in this project," Alekperov said. According to him, it is still too early to say anything definite about the project because the tender has not been announced and terms remain unknown. The deputy chairman of the Gazprom board, Alexander Medvedev, also spoke about possible cooperation with LUKoil. According to Medvedev, Gazprom will bid in the Sakhklin III tender if the terms are reasonable. "It is possible that we will participate in the tender together with LUKoil," he said. LUKoil is interested in bidding in tenders for the right to develop the Trebs and Titov fields in the Nenetsk autonomous district (the north of European Russia), either alone or together with partners, Alekperov said. Both deposits are on the list of the Russian strategic deposits, which means only companies which have at least 51% of their shares in Russian ownership will be allowed to take part in the tender. The Trebs deposit is estimated to contain 78.9 million metric tons of oil, and the Titov deposit 63.4 million metric tons. According to LUKoil vice-president Leonid Fedun, the tax burden on the company does not allow it to expand investment activities. "Tax repayments approach 55%-60% of [our] total income," Fedun said. "On the one hand, this level of taxation does not allow the company to increase its investment program, and on the other, it puts prospects for Russia's strategic development under a question mark." According to him, the current tax burden means the company cannot start developing new regions for oil production in Russia's Far East and Eastern Siberia. According to Fedun, oil production in Russia may stagnate and fall even further if the tax burden on oil companies is not reduced. He said he hoped the government would consider this issue by the end of the year.
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