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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom Goes to Iran for Talks

Gazprom held talks in Iran on Wednesday on expanding in the region, one day after President Vladimir Putin made his first visit to the country.

Deputy chief executive Valery Golubev is in negotiations with energy officials from Iran and Armenia on joint projects, Abubakir Shamuzov, head of Gazprom's Tehran office, said Wednesday.

Russia is seeking to expand its control of pipeline networks outside its borders. Moscow, via Gazprom, has used a combination of threats and incentives to increase its influence in neighboring markets. Gazprom agreed last year not to raise prices for Armenia until the end of 2008. The price, $110 per 1,000 cubic meters, is less than half what Gazprom charges customers in Western Europe.

In return, Gazprom's Armenian venture, ArmRosgazprom, will acquire a gas pipeline to Iran and the new generating block of a thermal power plant, Gazprom said at the time. Armenia also agreed to let the Gazprom venture oversee building a second, 197-kilometer pipeline to Iran.

Armenia currently receives almost all its gas by pipeline from Russia across Georgia. Gazprom Neft, Gazprom's oil arm, has said it is considering building an oil refinery in Armenia.

Also Wednesday, RIA-Novosti reported that Putin invited his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for talks in Moscow. No date was set for the meeting, the agency said.