Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom will take part in a project for the construction of a gas pipeline between Iran and India, Russian media quoted Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Wednesday.
Russia and Iran are expected to sign today a memorandum of understanding on Gazprom’s participation in the Iranian oil and gas sector. By the end of this year, the parties will draft and sign the legal framework for the project, Novak said. Indian, Pakistani, Russian, and Iranian companies will be taking part in the project, the Russian minister said.
According to Russian media, the pipeline is expected to be 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) long and will ship Iranian gas to India.
The parties will begin work on the project next year, after they will have signed all the legal paperwork later this year, according to Novak.
According to the Russian energy minister, there will be an underwater section of the pipeline. It’s early to talk about the amount of investments, but they will be big because there will be an underwater section in the Persian Gulf—it’s a capital-intensive project, Novak said.
Russia has been growing its influence in the Middle East—it’s in apparent rapprochement with Saudi Arabia over the OPEC production cut deal, and its energy companies have been gaining more stakes in projects in the region.
Russia’s oil giant Rosneft said in September that it would look into the opportunity to build a $1-billion pipeline that will bring gas from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. Rosneft—led by Putin’s close ally, Igor Sechin—has been intensifying links and deals with Kurdistan this year.
Earlier this month, Rosneft closed the deal to buy from Italy’s Eni a 30-percent stake in the offshore concession in Egypt where the giant Zohr gas field is located, for US$1.125 billion.