Gazprom Neft is looking to expand its foreign operations into oil-rich
Cuba and Iran, which are both hindered by trade sanctions, CEO Alexander
Dyukov said Tuesday. The company is actively seeking to increase its
resource base to meet an ambitious oil output goal of 100,000 million
metric tons a year by 2020, up from about 60,000 million. "Gazprom Neft
wants to join Petronas' project in Cuba," Dyukov said during the
company's annual shareholders' meeting. His deputy, Boris Zilbermints,
said the firm aimed to clinch a deal in July. Zilbermints also said the
company was keen to conclude preliminary talks to develop the Anran oil
field in Iran by the end of the summer but implementing the deal would
depend on the United Nations changing its trade sanctions on the country.
Last November, Gazprom Neft, Russia's fifth-largest oil producer, signed
a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company to
study the development of another two Iranian oil fields, Azar and
Shangule. Cuba estimates that it has 20 billion barrels of oil abundant
in its section of the Gulf of Mexico that abuts the oil-rich U.S. and
Mexican zones of the gulf. Cuba's portion of the Gulf of Mexico has been
divided into 59 blocks, of which 17 have been contracted out to
companies including Spanish oil giant Repsol and its partners,
Malaysia's Petronas, Brazil's Petrobras, Venezuela's PDVSA and PetroVietnam.
Cuba also presents some difficulties for the development of hydrocarbon
reserves because the country falls under a U.S.-imposed trade embargo.
The 48-year-old embargo limits the amount of U.S. technology that can be
used in oil developments in Cuba. Gazprom Neft also owns a 20 percent
state in a consortium with other Russian producers to develop
hydrocarbon deposits in Venezuela. On Friday, the company signed a
production sharing agreement for two oil offshore blocks in Equatorial
Guinea, the latest country into which the firm has expanded its
activity, pledging $3 billion in investments.