Russian oil company Lukoil does not plan to withdraw from a project to develop the Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, a Lukoil Overseas representative said.

"I am part of the management committee for the Shah Deniz project, but I have not heard this information. At the moment the Russian company [Lukoil] is continuing to carry out its contractual obligations," Rim Bagmanov, general director of the Lukoil Overseas office in Azerbaijan, said in response to reports about the company's withdrawal from the project. He said that the next meeting of the management committee for the project is planned for September and Lukoil is getting ready for this meeting.

At the same time, he added that Lukoil is currently reviewing its strategy for participation in international projects and is concentrating on projects where it has a certain amount of management control or influence as a result of owning a sufficient amount of shares. "However, this does not mean that we are dropping the Shah Deniz project," he said.

Lukoil and Italy's Agip have an equal share in the company LUKAgip, which owns 10% of the project to develop the Shah Deniz gas condensate field and build the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline.

The contract for the development of the Shah Deniz field was signed in June 1996. Participants in the Shah Deniz project include SOCAR - 10%, BP - 25.5%, Statoil - 25.5%, TotalFinaElf - 10%, LukAgip - 10% NICO - 10% and TPAO (Turkey) - 9%.

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