Russia hosts Equatorial Guinea leader for key visit

6th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea met with his Russian counterpart here Monday on his first ever visit to Russia as energy firms from both countries signed a cooperation accord.

Russian state energy giant Gazprom and GEPetrol, the national oil company of Equatorial Guinea, signed a cooperation agreement to jointly explore two oil blocks that could hold an estimated 110 million tonnes of oil, the Kremlin said.

The agreement "cements basic principles of managing the project" and builds upon an initial production-sharing agreement Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, signed with the GEPetrol last year, a Gazprom spokesman said.

He did not provide further details but the company has said in the past it investments in Equatorial Guinea could total around $3 billion over 30-35 years.

The accord was one of several cooperation deals signed following President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's talks with Dmitry Medvedev.

It was Obiang's first visit to Russia since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1968, the Kremlin said ahead of the talks, adding Russia was keen to ramp up economic ties with the oil-rich African country.

Following close cooperation under the Soviets, Russia is keen to re-establish its footprint in Africa.

Medvedev travelled to Nigeria, Namibia and Angola in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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