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Russia Wants to Sign Energy and Metals Deals in Africa


Russia is hoping for a package of energy and metals deals with African states, as a government delegation left for South Africa, Angola and Namibia. Some Russian firms however deny having any such plans.

Russia seeks to regain the strong position it enjoyed in Africa in Soviet times, when it spent billions of dollars to support regimes friendly to Moscow.

Last week Russian prime minister Mikhail Fradkov set out with high-level government officials and business chiefs on a five-day tour of Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

This follows last year’s visit by President Vladimir Putin, who pledged billions of dollars in investment. Fradkov’s delegation includes executives of aluminium giant Rusal, gas giant Gazprom, oil firms Lukoil and Rosneft, and diamond producer Alrosa. Alrosa wanted to work with South Africa to explore and mine diamonds, and other mineral resources. Alrosa signed a pact with De Beers last year.

In Angola, where it is already involved in a large diamond venture, Alrosa would seek power generation agreements, the statement said.

Alrosa president Sergei Vybornov said the company would start exploring for crude oil in Angola, where it hoped to sign an agreement on 15 April.

“It’s very promising in terms of the quality of the deposits. We’ll make an initial investment of about $50m (R373m) for exploration. If we need to, we will invest more. It’s hard to know exactly how much it will cost at this stage.”

The company said the deal would involve exploration onshore in South Kwanza, North Kwanza, Etosha and Ojiba, and in shelf blocks 12 and 13 offshore.

Angola is pumping more than one million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil. Production is projected to reach at least two million bpd by next year as new fields come on stream.

Alrosa has a 32.8% stake in Angola’s Catoca kimberlite mine. Vybornov said Catoca produced 70% of the diamonds in Angola, the world’s fifth-biggest producer by value and the third largest on the continent after Botswana and South Africa.


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