* Gazprom Neft's secures third project in Kurdistan
* Says reserves estimated at 90-100 million tonnes
(Changes sourcing, reserves estimates - previously between 80
million and 100 million tonnes, adds detail)
MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Russia's fifth-largest crude
producer Gazprom Neft has signed a deal to enter an
oil project in Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan, a company
official said, despite tension between local authorities and
International oil firms have hit problems developing fields
in Kurkdistan. The central Iraqi government claims its authority
over oilfields in the country while local authorities have been
trying to secure separate deals with oil firms.
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the world's top gas producer,
Gazprom, said it secured 80 percent in the Halabja
project, the company's third project in Kurdistan.
"We entered the third project (in Kurdistan), the Halabja
block. It is close to the blocks we already own," Vadim
Yakovlev, Gazprom Neft's first chief executive officer deputy,
said on a conference call.
He said that the block's reserves are estimated at between
90 million and 100 million tonnes.
"Now, we have to prepare and approve the geological research
programme," he added. The deal was signed under a sharing
production agreement, which analysts say is more lucrative than
the contracts which the central government offers.
Last week, Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG), said Gazprom Neft had signed new
agreements with KRG, without disclosing details.
Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two Kurdistan blocks,
Garmian and Shakal, last August.
The Russian company also has a contract for the Badra
oilfield, controlled by the government.
Yakovlev said Gazprom Neft has not been notified by the
Iraqi central government of any wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Keiron Henderson)