UPDATE 1-France's Areva, EDF in nuclear agreements with Qatar

Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:00pm EST

(Adds details, background)

DOHA Jan 14 (Reuters) - French reactor maker firm Areva CEPFi.PA on Monday signed a 470 million euro ($698.7 million) electricity distribution and transmission (T&D) deal with Qatar, officials said.

French power giant EDF (EDF.PA) also signed a memorandum with Qatar "to engage discussions on cooperations in the areas of nuclear power production and renewable energy generation," according to a document made available to Reuters.

Sources close to the situation told Reuters on Friday that Areva would sign a T&D deal worth between 300 million euros and 500 million euros with Qatar.

Both contracts coincide with a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Middle Eastern region.

"In the nuclear sector, discussions will be initially on an assistance agreement for a study of feasibility and acceptability study," officials from Sarkozy's office said.

As part of the memorandum, EDF will also examine with Qatar Petroleum International investment opportunities in the gas chain.

Sarkozy was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday and will visit the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday where he is expected to sign another nuclear cooperation agreement.

Areva, Suez LYOE.PA and Total (TOTF.PA) are also seen signing a multi-billion dollar contract to develop two new-generation nuclear reactors in Abu Dhabi. (Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Marie Maitre in Paris; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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