Litasco, the international oil trading company of Russia's Lukoil, and Iraq's state oil marketing firm SOMO have created LIMA Energy—a joint oil trading company based in Dubai, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing trading sources.
LIMA Energy will trade Iraqi, Russian, and other crude oil grades, and will lift the first cargo of Iraqi crude this month, according to Reuters' sources.
LIMA Energy was set up following the model of Oman Trading International (OTI), which was created as a joint venture between Oman Oil Company (OOC) and Vitol, the sources told Reuters.
In November 2015, Vitol's 30 percent interest in the Oman venture was transferred to the State General Reserve Fund, making Oman the sole owner of OTI, which trades Omani crude oil.
According to Reuters, Iraq's oil ministry said last month that it planned to form an oil marketing joint venture with Litasco, but did not go into specifics.
Geneva-based Litasco was set up in 2000 as the exclusive international marketing and trading company of Lukoil. Litasco has affiliates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among other countries, and a representative office in Iraq.
In 2015, the total volume of physical barrels handled was 3.2 million barrels per day. Lukoil volumes accounted for 51 percent of the marketing, and third-party trading made up 49 percent of Litasco's transactions.
Lukoil, for its part, holds 75 percent in the West Qurna-2 field project in southern Iraq, 65 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of the major seaport Basra. Lukoil, in partnership with Japan's Inpex, has also won the right to explore and develop Block 10 in Iraq, which is located in the proximity of the major fields Rumaila and West Qurna.
SOMO -- which markets oil from the fields controlled by the central government in Iraq, but not those under Kurdish control -- saw its average exports at 3.756 million barrels per day in March.