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Russia’s Gazprom mutes mega gas deal with Nigeria

Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom is reported to be in talks with Nigerian officials on a $2.5 billion deal to develop natural gas reserves.

The Russian gas exporting state firm, Gazprom is said to be close to a $2.5 billion natural gas deal with the Nigerian government. The Financial Times reports that unnamed Nigerian oil industry officials have revealed that discussions have been held between Gazprom and Nigeria on a deal which would see the Russian firm invest in Nigeria’s energy infrastructure in exchange for access to develop Nigeria’s substantial natural gas reserves.

Nigeria has in recent years has taken steps to develop a natural gas industry as multi-billion LNG projects have come on stream. The development of these facilities has seen a reduction in the previous practice of burning off natural gas as an offshoot of crude oil production as well as developing a new source of foreign exchange for Nigeria. Nigeria’s main partners in LNG production are currently western multinationals such as Shell, Total and Eni and the Gazprom deal will significantly change the balance of the foreign partnership in the LNG industry.

Western commentators however are expressing concern over Gazprom’s expansion citing the issues that have regularly arisen over existing supplies contracts in western Europe where there is significant reliance of Gazprom’s Russian supplies. It is felt that Gazprom moving into new markets will increase this dependence and threaten energy security in these countries. (