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Gazprom, Lukoil, Sonatrach plan to pump and refine oil

OAO Gazprom, Russia's biggest gas company, and OAO Lukoil, the country's largest oil producer, agreed to consider cooperating with Sonatrach of Algeria to produce and process the fuels. The two Russian companies today each signed a memorandum of understanding in Moscow with Sonatrach, Algeria's state-owned oil company, the Russian Energy Ministry said in a statement on its Web site. The companies may also cooperate on liquefied natural gas production. „One of the possible projects may be Sonatrach participation in the Baltic LNG,” Gazprom said on Friday in an e-mailed statement. Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first official visit to Algeria in March. Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov, CEO Alexei Miller and OOO NGK Itera President Igor Makarov were among about half a dozen executives from the oil and gas industry in the Putin delegation. State-run Gazprom invited 17 companies to bid for participation in the Baltic LNG project, Interfax reported last month, without identifying the companies. Petro-Canada, Britain's BP Plc and BG Group Plc, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. of Japan, and Spain's Repsol YPF SA were interested in the venture, Interfax said. The facility will be able to make as much as 5 million tons of LNG a year from 7 billion cubic meters of gas, Interfax said. „Lukoil is in the process of opening its office in Algeria,” Lukoil said today in an e-mailed statement. Algeria holds 4.5 trillion cubic meters of proved gas reserves, the second-largest in Africa after Nigeria, according to Gazprom. The nation also holds 1.5 billion tons (11 billion barrels) of oil, the third-largest in Africa. (Bloomberg)