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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Urges Iraq on Equal Oil Access

Russia praised Iraq's draft oil law and urged the occupied country's government to guarantee equal access to contracts for all foreign companies.

The draft law "meets international standards" and should be applied in a "nondiscriminatory" way, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its web site today. "Russian companies are eager to participate in the economic redevelopment of Iraq."

Iraq's parliament is expected to approve the draft law by the end of May, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said March 14, after the cabinet approved the bill unanimously. The bill details terms for exploration by foreign oil companies in the Persian Gulf country, owner of the world's third-largest reserves of oil.

LUKoil, the country's largest oil producer, signed an accord to develop the giant West Qurna field during the era of Saddam Hussein's rule.

The company's efforts to keep the rights to the field are backed by ­ConocoPhillips of the United States, which owns about 20 percent of LUKoil and has been offered 17.5 percent of the project.

The country, which objected to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying it would increase instability in the region and foster terrorism, is against setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.