UPDATE 1-Russia Gazprom Neft signs Kurdistan oil project deal

* 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

central government.

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)