Kurdistani gas set to flow into Europe under Rosneft pipeline financing

Rosneft is set to invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s Kurdistan, a move which increases the Russian oil giant’s commitment to the region and will enable it to become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) confirmed that Rosneft has agreed to fund a natural gas pipeline in the semi-autonomous Iraqi state, with two sources suggesting the investment could amount to over US$1 billion.

According to a 2015 report, the region contains the world’s 8th largest reserves of oil and gas, and since 2014 Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently from the central government in Baghdad.

Kurdistan will hold an independence vote on September 25 as it seeks to gain full autonomy from Iraq after years of disputes relating to budget revenues and the allocating of oil exports.

State-owned Rosneft has already become an important player in the region, making several cash loans cash to the KRG in exchange for future oil deliveries, but the pipeline deal represents a major boost to its international gas ambitions.

“The project involves the commissioning of the pipeline and the first gas supplies to domestic consumers in 2019, and starting in 2020, the beginning of gas exports,” said Rosneft.