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Interview with Vagit Alekperov

Despite reports that Russia's oil production has peaked, Lukoil plans to increase oil output over the next ten years. The president of Russia’s biggest oil producer, Vagit Alekeprov, spoke exclusively to RT about the company’s plans for the fu

Russia Today: The geography of your business outside Russia is really impressive. What countries or regions are the most important for you and are you starting any new projects?

Vagit Alekeprov: The priority for us is Iraq, with its unique West Kurna 2 project .My latest trip to Baghdad gives me confidence that this project will be a success. We feel that the top leaders of the country are interested in creating an investment climate in Iraq so that huge amounts of money – which will be billions and billions of dollars – will be invested to develop their unique fields.

The development of downstream projects in Europe is also a priority for us. Today Europe, both Western and Eastern, is the most economically viable direction for Russia to supply oil.

Our projects in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are also highly important for us. In Columbia we’ve already started drilling for oil and we’re negotiating projects in Venezuela. We are also ready to start new projects in Iran.

RT: What are the results of your joint venture with Gazprom and are you considering co-operation with other companies?

V.A.: We’ve registered our major joint venture with Gazprom and are selecting the projects that could become form the basis of our co-operation. Today we’re the only company in Russia that has joint ventures with practically all our colleagues – for example, we’re working with Rosneft in the Caspian and the Sea of Azov.

RT: High oil prices are worrying most economists around the world now. Do you think the domestic price for oil in Russia should fall – after all Russia is the world’s second biggest exporter?

V.A.: Today it's not right to say that oil prices in Russia should be lower than elsewhere. They should be at world level, minus transportation costs. If the prices are cut, we'll face a deficit. Thus, we should balance the ability of our population to pay for our oil with the conditions that the state should create for us, the oil companies – mainly in taxation.

RT: If you accept that Russia’s oil production has peaked, what will happen with Lukoil’s oil output?

V.A.: Over the next 10 years we’re going to increase the output of hydrocarbons, whether it’s specifically oil or gas – will depend on economics and efficiency.