Rosneft in talks to develop disputed oilfields with Iraqi Kurdistan

30 Jun 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russia’s state-controlled oil company is in discussions with Iraqi Kurdistan over helping it develop oilfields in disputed territory at the heart of tensions with Baghdad, in a move that pitches Moscow into one of Iraq’s oldest faultlines. Rosneft, in which the Kremlin holds a controlling stake, is examining several exploration blocks and existing fields in disputed territory under Kurdish control, according to three people familiar with the talks. They include sites near the oil city of Kirkuk and close to the Syrian border, areas formerly under Baghdad’s rule. The move is the latest suggestion that Moscow is using Rosneft to bolster a more aggressive foreign policy stance in the Middle East, as the Kremlin moves to cement new political alliances with deeper economic ties. In the past year Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin — a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president — has signed deals to buy oil from Libya and the Kurdistan Regional Government and sold a sizeable stake in the company to Qatar. The talks between Rosneft and the KRG over exploration and production were at an early stage and no concrete deal had yet been reached, the people familiar with the discussions said.

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