BAGHDAD / Russia's state oil firm Rosneft signed an agreement on Friday to help Kurdistan develop its natural gas reserves and build a gas pipeline, expanding its dominance in the energy sector in Iraq's semi-autonomous region.
Rosneft said it would conduct pre-construction (design and design engineering) for a gas pipeline in Kurdistan as part of its plan to build an integrated gas value chain in the region and would focus on partnerships and financing third-party projects for gas projects in Kurdistan.
Rosneft has agreed to invest billions of dollars in Kurdistan oil projects over the past two years, including securing control of the oil pipeline in the region.
This pipeline gave Rosneft access to the vital infrastructure that shipped most of the region's oil to international markets across Turkish territory.
The Kremlin-controlled firm has made the region's biggest investor so far, turning Erbil, a traditionally strong ally of the United States, into an important partner for Moscow as Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to expand his influence in the Middle East.
Russia has chosen not to oppose the failed Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) referendum last year, which Baghdad called illegal and a cause of concern in Washington, the European Union, Iran and Turkey.
Rosneft also said it aims to produce up to 10,000 barrels per day of oil in Kurdistan by the end of this year.
At the time that Baghdad accuses Erbil of contracting illegally with international oil companies for the export and production of oil and gas in areas under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government, while the Iraqi Oil Ministry warned companies to contract with the region without their knowledge. Finished 2
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]