UPDATE 1-Russia's Lukoil plans exit from Venezuela oil project - source
* Lukoil set to join other companies fleeing Venezuela
* Analysts say political risks in Venezuela are high
(Changes sourcing, adds detail, analyst comment)
MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russia's No.2 crude oil producer Lukoil plans to leave a Russian consortium developing a large oil project in Venezuela, a source close to the company told Reuters on Wednesday after a report in Kommersant daily.
"The process of departure could take several months," the source said, declining to talk about the reasons for the exit.
A Lukoil spokesman declined to comment.
Lukoil is developing heavy oil in Venezuela's Orinoco basin as part of the Junin-6 consortium, led by Russian state oil major Rosneft.
Kommersant reported that Lukoil's president Vagit Alekperov had discussed the company's exit from the project and the sale of its 20 percent stake with Rosneft's head Igor Sechin about a month ago in order to "optimise its asset portfolio".
Gazprom Neft is another Russian company participating in the consortium.
Surgutneftegas and TNK-BP, which was bought by Rosneft for $55 billion earlier this year, have also decided to leave the consortium, citing a need to focus on domestic business.
"The consortium is falling apart ... The companies have understood the political risks and begun to leave the project, one by one," Alexander Pasechnik, an analyst with the National Energy Security Fund think tank in Moscow, said.
"The political risks are directly connected to the current shaky regime, which was elected by a thin margin."
Venezuela is the world's 11th largest crude exporter. Foreign companies operating there have faced price controls and currency devaluations along with threats of nationalisation.
Some other companies have also taken flight from Latin America. Last month, Malaysian oil firm Petronas said it was exiting one of the biggest petroleum projects in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, after what sources close to the venture and within the firm said were disagreements with Venezuelan authorities and state-run PDVSA.
The exit from the country could raise more questions about Venezuela's ambitious plans to boost stagnant output and the ability of the government to turn the promise of the Orinoco Belt into reality.
Ties between Moscow and Caracas flourished under Hugo Chavez, the socialist leader who died of cancer earlier this year. Nicolas Maduro, who won the presidential election in April, was Chavez's chosen successor and Russia was hoping for continuity to protect its energy and arms deals there.
The consortium of Russian oil companies owns a 40 percent stake in the project, which started oil production in September 2012, while PDVSA has 60 percent.
(Editing by Jason Bush, Louise Heavens and Dale Hudson)