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    RUSSIA HOLDS "STRONG POSITION" IN IRAQ

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    MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - A revision of contracts concluded by Russian companies in Iraq is no good for the international community because Russia is still holding a strong position in Iraq, believes Yuri Shafranik, head of the Russia-Iraq business council. He voiced this opinion at the Thursday press conference at RIA Novosti.

    Shafranik believes that a return of Russian companies to Iraq is prevented by its uncertain and dangerous set-up. It is unknown what will be its leadership in the near future, he said.

    As regards the project of his company Soyuzneftegaz in Iraq, Shafranik said that the feasibility report for developing the Rafidein oil field has been prepared.

    "We continue work on the project", Shafranik said.

    Mostly these Russian companies are present in Iraq on the permanent footing - Slavneft, Tatneft, Zarubezhneft, Onako as part of the TNK International; until recently - Lukoil and Machinoimport, servicing oil contracts such as West Qurna. On some information, 40 percent of the oil exported presently by Iraq passes through these Russian companies.

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