Russia could dramatically increase its investments in the Iraqi economy, said Yury Fedorov, First Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council Foreign Policy Committee, during a meeting on Monday with Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Abdul Rahman Hamid Al-Husseini.
According to Fedorov, Russian oil and gas companies are showing an interest in Iraq, and could invest up to $20 billion in hydrocarbon extraction projects in the country.
“Currently active in your country are Lukoil, Bashneft, and Gazprom Neft. The total investments are in excess of $10 billion,” said the senator, adding that great interest has also been shown by Zarubezhneft, Tatneft and Rosneftegaz.
“We are investigating the possibility of diversifying the activity of Russian operators, including by connecting them to the gas sphere. According to preliminary predictions, this could triple the investments of our companies,” Fedorov emphasized.
He recalled that last year Russia and Iraq renewed their cooperation in the area of energy infrastructure, and are currently in negotiations regarding the construction of thermal power plants. “We intend to help our Iraqi friends to address the challenges of the swift restoration and future development of electric power facilities,” TASS cites Fedorov as saying.
Out of all Russia’s debtors, Iraq has been forgiven the second most debt. In 2008, the Russian government wrote off $12 billion owed by the Iraqi government for the loans which Saddam Hussein used to pay for the weapons he bought from the Soviet Union.
Russia has only written off more debt for Cuba – out of the nearly $40 billion owed, $35.3 billion was written off in 2012.
The Russian government has written off about $11 billion owed by Vietnam, North Korea and Mongolia, and $10 billion owed by Syria.