MOSCOW-VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas met with top managers of Lukoil in Moscow on Oct. 20 to get assurances that the Baltic country would not suffer from the Russian company's offshore oil drilling in and around Kaliningrad Oblas
Brazauskas and Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov agreed to prepare a bilateral agreement on the compensation of damages should the offshore project, dubbed D-6, lead to serious environmental damage.
Brazauskas also met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Oct. 21 to discuss the same issues.
The Lithuanian prime minister sought assurances that Russia's second largest oil company would help clean up any oil spills that might arise as a result of offshore drilling or transporting the oil via a pipeline on the seabed.
According to a Lithuanian government press release, Alekperov said that the technology that would be used in extracting the crude beneath the Baltic Sea was state-of-the-art and that all the controls in place were efficient to ensure safe exploitation of the oil field.
Lukoil officials agreed to let a group of Lithuanian experts formed by Brazauskas inspect the production site and its environmental impact once the project begins next year.
Lithuanian experts have gotten acquainted with D-6-related documents in Kaliningrad, though they have yet to promulgate an analysis of their study.
The production site is seven kilometers from Lithuania's territorial waters and 22 kilometers off the Curonian Spit, a unique strip of land that forms the Baltic's country's westernmost border and is included on UNESCO's World Heritage list of sites.
Lukoil has said that it hopes to extract some 700,000 tons of crude annually from the D-6 oil deposit.
Meanwhile, Lithuania received a gesture of support from Europe last week, as one of the fractions in the European Parliament said it would compose a draft resolution on the D-6 project that would be addressed at the next EU-Russia summit in November.
Astrid Thors, head of the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform faction in the European Parliament, wrote in a letter to Kestutis Kuzmickas, a New Union MP in Lithuania's Parliament and an observer in the European Parliament, that the faction intended to write the resolution in time for the summit.
According to Kuzmickas, the European Parliament's committee on environment and public health was scheduled to discuss the D-6 issue in the near future.
Earlier in October MPs Kuzmickas and Vytautas Kvietkauskas said they had sent appeals on the need to discuss the D-6 issue to all European parliamentarians.