Russia's Gazprom does not rule out participation in Iran LNG projects

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MOSCOW, June 26 (Reuters) - Russia's top natural gas producer, Gazprom, may take part in liquefied natural gas projects in Iran once sanctions against Tehran are lifted, Gazprom's deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said on Friday.

"Gazprom does not rule out its participation in these projects under certain conditions," Medvedev told reporters.

"The sanctions should be lifted first."

Russia has stepped up efforts to strengthen ties with Iran and announced an oil-for-goods programme in which the Islamic Republic would export up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day to Russia in exchange for goods, including grain.

Iran and six countries, including Russia, reached an interim agreement in early April and are working towards a final deal by the end of this month that could see sanctions lifted.

An abundance of condensate and natural gas liquids in Iran make Iranian LNG export projects potentially highly competitive, even as supply swells due to U.S. shale gas and big finds off East Africa.

Experts say, however, that it would take a decade or more for Iran to became a major LNG exporter.

Gazprom was involved in developing Iran's South Pars gas project, but its participation was stalled because of sanctions. (Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Elizabeth Piper)