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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Energy Secretary to Visit Russia, Kazakhstan

WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will visit Russia and Kazakhstan after taking part in U.S. President Bill Clinton’s state visit to Nigeria this weekend, the U.S. Energy Department announced Wednesday.

Richardson will make a six-day visit to Russia and Kazakhstan, during which he will meet with government officials to promote international energy cooperation and nuclear nonproliferation activities.

Richardson will be in Russia Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, visiting former nuclear weapons facilities and traveling to Sakhalin Island in the Far East to tour oil facilities.

Major U.S. oil firm Chevron Corp. has several oil projects in the region.

Richardson will meet with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik on Aug. 29 to sign science and technology renewal agreements.

Richardson will be in Nigeria on Saturday and Sunday, two weeks ahead of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ meeting in Vienna, where the cartel will discuss new oil production levels.

Nigeria is an OPEC member.

It is not certain if Richardson intends to meet with Nigeria’s oil minister to discuss the OPEC meeting and press the United States’ position that more oil supplies are required for the country’s economic health.

Energy trade is expected to form an important portion of Clinton’s visit. U.S. oil majors Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp and Texaco are among the six oil multinational corporations producing Nigeria’s over 2 million barrels per day oil output in a joint venture with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

All three are bidding for potentially lucrative deep-sea oil blocks in Nigeria due for allocation in the last quarter of this year.