Article “Russia’s Imprint in Iraqi Kurdistan: Rosneft’s Ascendancy”

Date of publication: February 5, 2020

Tomáš Kaválek of  Prague Centre for Middle East Relations (PCMR) of the CEVRO Institute with Filip Sommer from Faculty of Science, Charles University have published an article in Middle East Policy titled “Russia’s Imprint in Iraqi Kurdistan: Rosneft’s Ascendancy.“

In 2017-18, Russia’s Rosneft made a dramatic entrance into the oil and gas sector of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by signing up to $5.3 billion worth of deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government. The KRG was facing economic problems and, at the same time, had long desired to develop its stagnant gas sector. Russia, having only a limited foothold in post-2003 Iraq, has become an important player in the KRI energy sector. This step came at a time when many argued that Russian engagement in the Middle East and North Africa “was essentially part of Moscow’s endeavor to return to the global geopolitical chessboard as a great power.” It appears that one element of its actions across the region stands out: a systematic effort to play a part in gas projects that otherwise have the potential to undermine Russian dominance in supplying Europe with gas. Rosneft seems to be a principal agent in this undertaking.