MOSCOW, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Russian oil company LUKoil is on pace to become a major natural gas producer and said it wants to renew a purchase deal with gas company Gazprom.
Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reports LUKoil is on pace to triple its gas production to 812 billion cubic meters annually by the end of the decade. LUKoil during oil production draws out large volumes of associated natural gas and the report Wednesday said 2020 levels would make LUKoil the fourth-largest natural gas producer in Russia.
Russian-language business daily Vedomosti said the oil company is ready to renew a deal that has Gazprom buy the natural gas produced from Russian oil fields. The report said the deal will be formalized in March.
Russia is one of the largest natural gas producers in the world. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Russian natural gas reserves account for about 25 percent of the world's total proven reserves.
The United States is set to rival Russia in terms of natural gas production in part because of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, two practices used on shale deposits.