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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom, Nigeria Sign Deal

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Gazprom has signed an agreement with Nigerian state oil firm NNPC to analyze three oil blocks in northern Nigeria for possible exploration, a senior NNPC official said Wednesday.

The Russian firm signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Nigeria Development Company, a venture owned by Nigeria's 19 northern states, to study two oil blocks in the Chad Basin and one in Benue Trough.

The deal is one of many ventures that Gazprom plans to pursue in Africa's largest oil and gas producer. The company is expected soon to sign a $2.5 billion gas exploration agreement with NNPC.

"Gazprom is fairly new in Nigeria, but we've been having discussions with them for nearly a year. They have a good track record," said Frederick Durlong, NNDC's executive director for business development.

Gazprom was one of 15 companies picked by Nigeria's government this month to be core investors in the exploration and production of its gas reserves, the world's seventh-largest.