Russian energy minister Alexander Novak speaks to Rudaw in ST. Petersbug on June 2, 2017. Photo: Rudaw TV
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Russian energy minister Alexander Novak who met with a high-level Kurdish delegation including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Thursday has told Rudaw they have made deals and discussed energy ties between the two sides.
Novak revealed that in addition to talks on the current ties, the two sides reached deals with regard to the work of Russian firms in the Kurdistan Region.
"Certainly we also made deals,” he said. “First of all on sending the representatives of our companies there — the companies that have new projects.”
A statement from the KRG of the meeting did not mention any deals.
He said the Russian oil giants are willing to expand their activities in the Kurdistan Region.
"We have a very good relation with Kurdistan,” Novak said. “We want to grow this relation, particularly with regard to energy. Many companies who are currently working there are willing to grow their cooperation with Kurdistan like Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, and other foreign companies.
"Kurdistan has many benefits to these companies, business-wise certainly our companies are prepared to increase their activities.”
Gazprom, the giant Russian oil and gas firm which also attended the meeting, has a product-sharing contract (PSC) with the Kurdish government for oil exploration in blocks in Halabja and Shakal.
Barzani and his accompanying delegation, including the Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami, had met on Wednesday with the management board of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, including Chief Executive Officer Igor Schein.
The Kurdish delegation was invited to Russia to take part in the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday which brings together chief executives of major Russian and international companies, and senior government officials.
The delgation met with the Russian Foreing Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday.
Prime Minister Barzani is also scheduled to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the three-day forum.
In February, the KRG signed a pre-financed contract with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft for the export of Kurdish crude oil. The landmark deal became the first time Kurdistan Region crude oil was to ship directly to a major oil refiner, a KRG official with knowledge of the deal told Rudaw at the time.
Rosneft plans to buy the Kurdish crude until 2019.