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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Oil Firms to Lift Iraqi Crude

Seven Russian oil companies have signed contracts to lift Iraqi crude under the third United Nations oil-for-food program, and five more are expected to sign up soon, a senior Russian oil official said Monday.

"Russian companies have begun to sign deals with Iraq," said Yury Agababov, deputy chief executive of Russian oil trader Zarubezhneft, which coordinates Russian firms' liftings.

He said Zarubezhneft had the biggest contract so far, to lift 10.8 million barrels in the next six months.

The other six signatories were Alfa-Eko, Zangaz (formerly Zarubezhneftegazstroy), Mashinoimport, Rosneft, RAO MES and Nafta-Moskva. Zangaz is not linked to Zarubezhneft.

Total Russian liftings so far are 28.84 million barrels, and they are likely to rise significantly, Agababov said.

"As well as the contracts signed, there are another five companies preparing to sign contracts -- LUKoil, Sidanko, Onako, Tatneft and Sibneft," he added.

The new participants in the program are Zangaz, an oil and gas construction firm active abroad, and Russian integrated oil company Sibneft.

In the second phase, Russia was the largest lifter of Iraqi crude, buying 39 million barrels.