Russia's Lukoil quits Iran project due to sanctions

Russia's second-largest oil producer, Lukoil, said Wednesday it had pulled out of a project in Iran due to the risk of more international sanctions on Tehran.

Lukoil said in a statement announcing its 2009 results that the earnings report had factored in an "impairment loss for Anaran project in Iran, which was abandoned due to international sanctions."

The earnings report put the size of Lukoil's write-off at 63 million dollars and linked it to the "incapability of undertaking further works because of the threat of economic sanctions of the US government."

Lukoil, which is 20 percent owned by US oil giant ConocoPhilips, announced a major oil find at Anaran in 2005 and began development there, but in 2007 it said work was being impeded by US sanctions.

Iran now is subject to three separate sets of UN sanctions. Washington has imposed its own unilateral sanctions and is seeking support for a fourth round of UN sanctions in a bid to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Lukoil said its net profit for 2009 was 7.01 billion dollars, a drop of 23.3 percent from the previous year. It said the fall in profits was due to the fall in the price of crude oil triggered by the global economic crisis.

The company is Russia's largest private oil firm and Russia's second-largest oil producer after state-owned Rosneft.

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