Putin was central in ambitious Rosneft’s deal with Qatar

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin met with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) CEO Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Glencore International AG CEO Ivan Glasenberg and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA CEO Carlo Messina at the Kremlin on January 25, 2017.

Putin underscored the significance of the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Russia’s leading oil company Rosneft whose global market value nears 59 billion dollars and validated deep business ties which might have seemed more unlikely months ago. If the Kremlin has been in touch with Glencore International and Intesa Sanpaolo for two decades at least, the involvement and presence of a prominent Qatari figure like Al Thani has been a significant development.

In similar ways then that used with Saudi Arabia with a view to reaching some consensus on the oil price, the Putin administration has managed to build business ties with Qatar – a majority stakeholder in Glencore International – fruitful enough to diversify the capital of one of Russia’s most strategic assets.

Therefore, beyond business interests, the Kremlin’s goal has been to build alternative ties which could prove useful on the diplomatic stage if necessary, especially in the Syria-Iraq region where Russia’s interests have clearly contradicted with that of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “Right from the start, (Putin) helped to prepare this deal,” said Sechin two days prior to the meeting.

Rosneft whose production increased by around 4 percent in 2016 – with oil production at 210 million tons and gas production at 67 billion cubic meters – plans to invest 18.35 billion dollars in 2017, up from 12.51 billion dollars in 2016.