Gazprom, Nigeria Sign Energy Deal

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country's state oil firm, and Gazprom have signed a memorandum of understanding on oil and gas exploration in Africa's top crude producer, the companies said Wednesday.

"NNPC has signed a general [memorandum of understanding] with Gazprom on joint venture projects. The MOU covers petroleum and gas exploration, as well as power," NNPC spokesman Levi Ajuonoma said.

"Details of the specific projects will be worked out later along with the quantum of money involved," he said.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and his Nigerian counterpart, Abubakar Yar'Adua, signed the memorandum in Moscow, Gazprom said a statement.

The Nigerian government said in January that Gazprom would spend from $1 billion to $2.5 billion developing the country's gas sector. In June, Gazprom said the two companies had agreed to construct a gas pipeline network in Nigeria and had discussed a gas link across the Sahara.

Nigeria has the world's seventh-largest proven gas reserves, but it has so far been unable to develop its gas industry to anywhere near full potential. Gazprom has said that investing in Nigeria's liquefied natural gas made strategic sense because it was closer to its main North American market than Russia.

"The government is also very keen to see that Nigeria realizes its full potential in oil and gas for the benefit of the people," he added.

(Reuters, Bloomberg)