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A regulatory disclosure revealed on Tuesday that Gazprom is setting up a unit in the Middle East, according to Reuters.
Russia’s state-controlled gas company did not provide details, but those details could be a critical factor in determining influence in the Middle East—be that Russia’s or the United States’.
The news comes after an exclusive report by Oilprice.com made shortly after the recent Iran/Saudi Arabia deal, who cited a Kremlin official who said, “By keeping the West out of energy deals in Iraq – and closer to the new Iran-Saudi axis - the end of Western hegemony in the Middle East will become the decisive chapter in the West’s final demise.”
Russia—as well as China—has been looking to get a better toehold into the gas-rich Middle East, Simon Watkins explained earlier this month.
Gazprom, headquartered in Moscow, has stakes in fields granted by Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq, and Russia holds an 80% working interest in five oil blocks in the KRG region, and it owns 60% in the KRG oil pipeline that runs to Turkey, which has been shuttered for weeks following an arbitration ruling against Turkey for oil shipping from KRG to Turkey without Baghdad’s consent from 2014 to 2018.
In November, Iran signed a $40 billion gas cooperation deal with Gazprom, with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy, Mehdi Safari, disclosing that Iran hoped to import Russian gas and export its own gas to international markets to keep from having to pay to transfer Iranian gas from the south to the north.
The European Union recently sanctioned a Dubai-based subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned shipping company, Sovcomflot, in an attempt to close sanctions loopholes that saw the Dubai company help Russia generate significant revenues from shipping energy products.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.