When the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan went looking for someone brave enough to pump billions of dollars into developing its large oil and gas reserves, it found a man who has never been accused of lacking courage: Igor Sechin, an old friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The chief executive of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, has ignored fears of conflict, criticism from western powers and navigated a web of regional, religious and political associations to emerge as Iraqi Kurdistan’s single biggest financier. In the process he has moved a US military stronghold much closer to Moscow.
Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly listed oil producer, says the investments are just good business, and have nothing to do with politics.
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