REUTERS

Ukraine's state oil and gas firm Naftogaz has secured Chinese backing that will open the way to as much as $1 billion in loans and investments, the group said on Tuesday.

Naftogaz said insurance cover from China's Sinosure would initially be used to allow it to borrow about $160 million for its gas production division to buy Chinese drilling equipment and services, Reuters said.

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"At the second stage, another $800 million is planned for additional Naftogaz group projects that will be agreed upon with China in the near future," Naftogaz said, noting the deal with Sinosure did not require a sovereign guarantee.

Naftogaz is Ukraine's biggest gas producer and its output accounts for around 75% of the country's total gas production.