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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LUKoil Urges Russia-U.S. Pact to Secure Key Pipelines

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- LUKoil called on Russia and the United States on Friday to join forces to protect key international oil pipelines against guerrilla attacks.

Pipeline security has become an issue as saboteurs have undermined U.S. efforts to restore steady oil supplies from Iraq and Russia has faced problems pumping oil through its restive republic of Chechnya.

LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov said the issue could take on a global dimension if militant groups attempted to disrupt the world economy by attacking oil pipelines, a relatively easy target due to their length and vulnerability.

"It's still not too late to develop common security principles for the world pipeline infrastructure," Alekperov said ahead of the second Russia-U.S. energy summit, scheduled for later this month in St. Petersburg.

Alekperov said the issue of regional pipeline security would become more important as oil output from the Caspian Sea grows.

Alekperov said U.S. problems in Iraq echoed Russia's own worries at home where it needs to ensure security of its pipeline system, the biggest in the world and delivering huge volumes of crude to Western Europe.

He quoted Chechnya as the most obvious example.

Tensions in Chechnya have prompted international oil major BP to opt for bypassing Russia's existing network and building a new link to the Turkish Mediterranean coast from its Caspian Sea fields in Azerbaijan. But as the pipeline would cross Azerbaijan and Georgia, BP has said it will use help from U.S. defense firms to guarantee its security.