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Gazprom Discovers Commercial Gas in Algeria

Source: Reuters 11/3/2010, Location: Africa

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Gazprom International has made its first commercial gas discovery on the African continent in Algeria and is scanning other countries in search of opportunities, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Boris Ivanov, head of the international arm of the Russian gas export monopoly, said the discovery was Gazprom's first commercial gas find outside of Russia.

"We have an excellent well. We tested it on the 30th of October," he told reporters on the sidelines of an African oil conference.

"It was 75,000 cubic meters of gas per day and 420 barrels per day of associated liquids," he said. Gazprom is the operator of the project in partnership with Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach. Gazprom holds 49 percent, while Sonatrach owns the other 51 percent.

The El Assel license area where the first prospecting well, Rhourde Sayah-2, is located, lies in the oil- and gas-bearing Berkine Basin and is comprised of three blocks spanning over 3,250 square km, according to Gazprom's website.

Ivanov said Gazprom was also looking at partnering with an indigenous company in Nigeria to buy one of the oil assets owned by Royal Dutch Shell.

"We met Shell. We are investigating the issue right now, looking into the available data in cooperation with this partner and Shell," he said.

"Nothing has been agreed on, but we are interested."

Gazprom is also looking at opportunities across Africa, including in east Africa and Libya.

"We are interested in a lot of places. We are scanning for specific opportunities, and rather actively," he said. Gazprom is also involved in developing the Kudu gas field in Namibia, which will lead to the construction of a 800 MW gas-to-power plant to supply electricity to both Namibia and South Africa.

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