Nigerian Firm to Partner Rosneft to Develop 21 African Oil Assets

Nigerian oil and gas exploration company Oranto Petroleum will be cooperating with Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft to develop 21 oil assets across Africa, an Oranto official told S&P Global Platts on the sidelines of an economic forum in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

The Nigerian company expects to sign a memorandum of understanding on the projects on Friday, the official said.

“Oranto is planning a big cooperation with Rosneft, that collaboration is going to include upstream, midstream and downstream in Africa. We’re looking at 21 oil assets in 17 African countries,” the official told S&P Global Platts.

“We are looking at how Africa is going to be a big part of Russian investment,” the official said.

Rosneft doesn’t have a significant presence in Africa except for a 30-percent stake in the giant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt in the Mediterranean, as well as some prospects in Mozambique.

Gaining access to more projects in Africa could be an important development for Rosneft to expand its global footprint, and according to the Oranto officials, U.S. sanctions on Russia would not be an issue in the potential cooperation.

“For us bringing Russia into Africa is really important and having Russian companies in Africa is going to be amazing…,” the official told Platts, adding that U.S. sanctions on Russia won’t be a problem for the Nigerian-Russian cooperation because transactions would be made either in Nigeria’s currency, the naira, or in Russian rubles.

“Rosneft has great technology and if Rosneft comes to Africa and works in Africa it means that they are bringing technology to Africa. They [will be] transferring knowledge to Africa and developing Africa,” the official from Oranto said.

Oranto Petroleum and its sister company Atlas Petroleum International are Nigeria’s largest privately-held, Africa-focused exploration and production group. The companies together have 22 oil and gas licenses in 11 jurisdictions in Africa, including in producing assets in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.

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