Sources: Rosneft to Sign Oil and Gas Deal with Azerbaijan
MOSCOW/BAKU, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Russia's top crude producer Rosneft will sign a broad oil and gas cooperation agreement with Azerbaijan on Tuesday, industry sources said, the first step towards increasing its presence in a country Europe hopes will help meet its energy demand.
Europe is vying for gas from Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic seen as a safe alternative to Russia after Moscow's "gas wars" with Ukraine disrupted deliveries in 2006 and 2009.
Sources at Azeri state energy company SOCAR and in Russia's Energy Ministry said the agreement would not stipulate details of the cooperation between Rosneft and Azerbaijan, where the oil industry is dominated by Western oil majors such as BP, Statoil and Exxon Mobil.
"An agreement between Rosneft and SOCAR will be signed on Tuesday. Concrete projects will be defined in the next six months," a source at the Azeri state company told Reuters.
Both Rosneft and SOCAR declined to comment.
The deal will be signed during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Azeri capital Baku where he is due to meet his counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.
The deal comes at a time when Rosneft is trying to end an export monopoly on Russian gas by Kremlin-controlled company, Gazprom. Rosneft has teamed up with Exxon Mobil to build a liquefied natural gas producing plant in the Russia's far east later this decade.
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