Russian energy giant Gazprom has announced that it will acquire over 60 specialised shipping vessels, including ten drilling rigs and 23 LNG tankers, by 2020.

Gazprom is believed to already be involved in negotiations with Russian shipyards.

Gazprom deputy Valery Golubyov said several contracts are likely to be signed with Northern Shipyard in St Petersburg by the end of 2009, the United Industrial Corporation reports.

The company said the rise in construction activity would help in upgrading Russian shipyards.

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