Russia set to capitalise on US hostility towards Iran with EEU FTA and oil deals

07/03/2018

US President Trump’s unremitting hostility towards Iran seems to be playing into Moscow’s hands, and sooner than may have been expected, with Energy Minister Alexander Novak this week predicting that several Russian oil majors could secure contracts to develop up to ten of the Islamic Republic’s oil fields as early as March 21. 
Reports that Gazprom, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Zarubezhneft, Tatneft, and Lukoil are all gearing up to establish a significant presence in Iran suggests that President Putin’s ever-closer ties with Iran that have followed his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is giving the country’s energy giants a competitive advantage, but it is not all bad news for their Western competitors, however. According to Novak, several of the Russian companies looking preparing to enter Iran are expected to set up international consortia to to help them meet the projects’ technical and financial requirements. 
News of the oil deals broke as officials from both countries attending an intergovernmental conference were reported to have come closer to agreeing the terms of engagement for a new FTA between Iran and the EEU, the latter of whose member states include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan as well as Russia. First raised as a possibility three years ago, the FTA will build on a Preferential Trade Agreement that came into effect last month and which will cut as much 80% off the duty levied on around 50 categories of goods traded between the two sides.
“Iran exported close to $500m worth of goods to the EEU member states during the seven months to October 22 and imported nearly $800m in return,” the Director of Europe and Americas Department at the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Behrouz Hassan Olfat said at the time. “The main exported products were agricultural products like fruit and vegetables, nuts like pistachio and raisins, pharmaceutical products and medical equipment, petrochemicals and oil,” he added.

Source: newsweek