Nigeria's proven gas reserves amount to nearly 5 trillion cubic meters compared with Africa's total reserves of 14.6 trillion cu m. In the past 50 years, however, geological prospecting has focused on oil exploration.
"That is why, when gas deposits were discovered by transnational companies, they were sealed with concrete and no information was provided to the government. As a result, no one knows for sure the amount of gas reserves in Nigeria's subsoil," Ivanov said.
"In the future, Nigeria may turn into a major natural gas supplier to the world market, including to Europe. If we don't start our work there (in Nigeria), we'll miss the process and will face all ensuing consequences. That is why, our top priority task today is to acquire gas extraction assets in Nigeria, which will allow us to produce gas already tomorrow rather than in 5-7 years. We are even interested in deposits with low output at present," he said in an interview with Gazprom's corporate magazine.
Gazprom is actively developing hydrocarbons at deposits in Libya with recoverable reserves of 7.5 bcm of gas and 22 million tons of oil, while output of liquid hydrocarbons amounts to 2.7 million tons per year and 0.5 bcm of gas per year.
Ivanov said the company had launched operations in Libya and Algeria to be closer to the key gas sales markets.
"We have the task of strengthening Gazprom's positions in Europe through gas supplies from Africa to Spain and Portugal where Gazprom is actually not represented," he said.
Gazprom EP International is also implementing projects in Latin America, in particular, in Bolivia, where it has acquired a 20% sake to participate in a highly promising oil and gas project in the Subandino area along with France's Total and Argentina's TecPetrol. The area's explored reserves comprise 176 bcm of gas and nearly 15 million tons of gas condensate. Production is expected to start in 2013, he said.
The company is also discussing new projects in South Africa and the Middle East, Ivanov said.