MOSCOW Russia's second largest oil producer, LUKOIL (LKOH.MM), has signed an agreement with Ivory Coast to explore for oil off the West African country's shore, the company said on Tuesday.
LUKOIL's production in Russia has been falling due to declining output at depleted oilfields in Western Siberia.
The privately owned company has been seeking opportunities abroad as its prospects for growth in Russia appear limited because state-controlled companies have exclusive access to strategic deposits, including offshore Arctic oil.
LUKOIL said on Tuesday it had signed a production sharing agreement on offshore block CI-524 in the Gulf of Guinea. It said its subsidiary LUKOIL Overseas holds a 60 percent stake in the block, while PanAtlantic, formerly Vanco, has 30 percent and state-owned PETROCI Holding owns 10 percent.
LUKOIL is already present in Ivory Coast, working at an adjacent block. Its key international project is the giant West Qurna-2 field in Iraq.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Jason Bush and Anthony Barker)