BUENOS AIRES, April 21 (Reuters) - Argentine state oil company YPF is close to signing a memorandum of understanding for Russia's Gazprom to make energy investments in the South American country, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
The memorandum is to be signed in Moscow this week during a visit from President Cristina Fernandez and YPF chief Miguel Galuccio, according to two Buenos Aires-based sources who asked not to be named and provided no details of the planned deal.
"There has been a lot of contact between the two companies to advance the agreement," one of the sources told Reuters.
Asked about the prospective deal, a Gazprom spokesman in Moscow said the company had no immediate comment.
Argentina is keen to reverse a costly energy deficit that will take as much as $200 billion in investment to erase, YPF has said. Key to the effort will be development of the vast but barely-tapped Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in Patagonia.
Last year Industry Minister Debora Giorgi said the Fernandez government had struck a $1 billion agreement with Gazprom to explore for and produce gas in Argentina. YPF later said no deal had yet been agreed upon. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires and Denis Pinchuk in Moscow, writing by Hugh Bronstein, editing by W Simon)