Turkmens Plan Lawsuit on Disputed Caspian Oilfields

ASHGABAT (Reuters)–Turkmen’stan’s foreign ministry will turn to international courts to protest oil drilling projects by Azerbaijan in the disputed offshore Caspian fields of Khazar and Osman–official Turkmen media said on Monday.

The fields are called Azeri and Chirag by Azerbaijan.

The Turkmen Khabarlary agency quoted Boris Shikhmuradov–the presidential envoy on Caspian issues–as saying Ashgabat would seek help from international courts as “Azerbaijan is ignoring Turkmen efforts to resolve the issue of the disputed fields.”

The fields in the oil-rich Caspian Sea have been disputed by the two ex-Soviet countries since the Soviet Union fell apart at the end of 1991. Turkmen’stan says Khazar belongs to it entirely and claims partial ownership of Osman.

Azerbaijan has been exploiting the fields since 1994 as part of its Azerbaijan International Operating Company project–which unites BP Amoco–Lukoil LKOH.RTS–ExxonMobil among others.

Turkmen Khabarlary said the foreign ministry had already sent letters to all the members of the consortium–warning them of the lawsuit.

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