Russia’s energy and fuel minister Yuri Shafrannik regards the LukOil company’s sizable share in the project to develop Azerbaijan’s "Karabakh" oilfield in the Caspian Sea as a big political plus for Russia. According to Shafrannik, "this is a serious victory of Russia’s oil complex and diplomacy. Projects of this kind promote integration in the CIS. A Russian company’s active participation in implementing projects in Azerbaijan demonstrates the strengthening of Russia’s position in the region." (15)
The contract signed last week awards (following some last-moment rearrangements among the consortium partners) Russia’s LukOil a 32.5 percent stake, the US Pennzoil and the Italian Agip 30 percent each, and Azerbaijan’s state oil company 7.5 percent in the project. The field’s estimated recoverable reserves are 70 million tons, the capital investment up to $1.8 billion, and the exploitation period at 30 years. Shafrannik’s statement is an unusually frank acknowledgment by a technical minister of Russia’s political motivations in pressing for a larger share of Caspian oil projects.
Positional Fighting in Tajikistan.