Russian gas giant Gazprom wants to invest at least $2.5 billion in the development and production of Nigeria’s natural gas reserves, a company official said.
‘Gazprom is in talks with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum (NNPC) on joint venture projects in Africa’s largest oil and gas producer. “About $2.5 billion is understood to be the Gazprom investment program for Nigeria,” said a company official working in Nigeria. “Ninety percent of it is for developing the domestic gas production, processing and transportation.” He declined to say when a final agreement may be signed with NNPC. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding in September. Some industry experts in Europe see Russia’s keen interest in the West African country as an attempt to get a stranglehold on Europe’s natural gas supplies. Gazprom temporarily cut off supplies to thousands of Europeans last month in a price dispute with Ukraine. The company will focus most of its initial investment on improving Nigeria’s domestic gas industry, which has operated far below its full capacity because of a lack of funds and regulation. Top Nigerian oil officials say foreign oil companies must first help build the country’s gas infrastructure before it can begin to make plans to export the natural resource.