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Russian oil and gas companies interested in Mediterranean area

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Russian oil and gas companies are interested in developing the Mediterranean region and are set to expand their presence in the area, an executive of Russia's largest independent natural gas producer said Wednesday.
CAIRO, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian oil and gas companies are interested in developing the Mediterranean region and are set to expand their presence in the area, an executive of Russia's largest independent natural gas producer said Wednesday.

"We are interested in working in the Mediterranean," Leonid Mikhelson, Novatek board chairman, said at an international conference in Cairo, Egypt, adding that Russian technology would suit the region's climatic conditions.

"Therefore we will be expanding our presence in the region, based on the principle of economic feasibility," Mikhelson said.

Last September Novatek bought a 50% stake in a concession agreement for the exploration and development of the El-Arish offshore deposit in Egypt from Tharwa Petroleum S.A.E.

The offshore block covering an area of approximately 2,300 sq km (888 sq miles) is located along the Mediterranean coast to the north of the Sinai. Half of the block lies at depths of up to 50 meters (164 ft) with the remaining area reaching up to 500 meters (1,640 ft).

The agreement provides for a minimum exploration period of four years, which will include geophysical studies and the drilling of two wells.

Established in 1994, Novatek handles the prospecting, production and refining of gas and liquid hydrocarbons. Its gas fields are located in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area in West Siberia, which has the world's largest natural gas reserves. The region accounts for over 90% of Russian natural gas output and around 20% of global gas production.

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