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    LUKOIL OVERSEAS AND ARABIAN SAUDI ARAMCO SIGN SHAREHOLDERS' AGREEMENT ON JOINT VENTURE

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    MOSCOW, March 4 /RIA Novosti/ - In compliance with the tender-based commitments of Russia's Lukoil oil giant to implement the project of Gas Block A geological prospecting (Saudi Arabia), Lukoil Overseas, which operates Lukoil's international upstream projects (oil prospecting and production), and Saudi Aramco signed a shareholders' agreement on the operation of the joint venture Lukoil - Saudi Arabia Energy Ltd. (LUKSAR).

    The press-service of Lukoil Overseas Holding Ltd. says that LUKSAR was registered on February 18, 2004, three weeks after Lukoil won the tender held by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. Lukoil Overseas holds an 80% stake in the joint venture through its Lukoil Overseas Riyadh subsidiary and Saudi Aramco directly owns 20% of the shares of the new enterprise.

    The board of directors of the new joint venture, expected to be formed until the end of March, will include 11 persons: eight representatives of Lukoil, two representatives of Saudi Aramco and one representative of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. LUKSAR's general director will be appointed by the board of directors from among Lukoil managers. The enterprise's principal office will be in the eastern province, which is one of the centers of the Saudi Arabian oil and gas industry.

    A $215 million L/C opened by Saudi Holland Bank (ABN Amro group) at the time of signing the shareholders' agreement will enable Lukoil to finance in full its five-year geological prospecting program under the LUKSAR project.

    Block A on an area of 29,900 square meters is located in the center of Saudi Arabia, in the northern part of the Rub Al-Khali desert. The probability of hydrocarbon discovery for commercial use is over 80%.

    The Contract on the prospecting and development of Block A gas and gas condensate deposits, which is the project's fundamental document, will be signed for a term of 40 years on March 7, 2004 in Er-Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

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