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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom Eyeing Deal In Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria --Total and Gazprom are interested in participating in a multibillion-dollar project to pipe Nigerian gas to Europe across the Sahara, executives from both firms said Wednesday.

The project, with capital costs estimated at $10 billion for the pipeline and $3 billion for gathering centers, would send up to 30 billion cubic meters a year of gas to Europe via a 4,128-kilometer pipeline from Nigeria via Niger and Algeria.

"Total believes this is a long-term strategic diversification for Nigeria, which is quite interesting," Guy Maurice, managing director of Total exploration and production in Nigeria, told an industry conference in Abuja.

"I take this opportunity to mention publicly that Total is ready to become involved in this project," he said.

The European Union, which relies on Russia for about 40 percent of its gas and a third of its oil, has said the project could help diversify its energy sources.

Gazprom, which said earlier that it hoped to sign an oil and gas exploration deal worth $2.5 billion with Nigeria next month, repeated its interest in the project and said it would be ready to work with Total.

"We are also interested. ... Gas projects in the Trans-Sahara Pipeline give us an opportunity to showcase our experience," said Vladimir Ilyanin, head of Gazprom Nigeria.