MOSCOW, June 14 (UPI) -- LUKoil, reaching its first deal in energy-rich Turkmenistan, has won rights to develop three Caspian offshore fields.
Word of the deal reached by Russia's largest oil company came Tuesday as Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov was meeting with TNK-BP officials, The Moscow times reported.
Competition for Turkmen energy resources has become intense since the death of longtime President Saparmurat Niyazov in December. Unlike his predecessor, Berdymukhammedov has welcomed oil and gas companies for talks in the capital of Ashgabat, saying he would "create the most favorable climate" for foreign investors.
At a meeting with LUKoil Chief Executive Officer Vagit Alekperov and LUKoil Vice President Andrei Kuzyayev, Berdymukhammedov gave the company his backing to develop "three promising fields ... in the near future," a statement from the Turkmen news agency said.
Alekperov stressed the importance of the fields.
"I am sure that this process will be effective as we have professionally prepared for exploiting these unique fields," Alekperov said.
While the Turkmen statement didn't specify whether the fields were oil or gas, analysts said, based on LUKoil's discussions, the field likely would be oil.