Russian state oil firm Rosneft’s recent deals in Libya, Iraq & Egypt are difficult to square with any coordinated commercial strategy. Rather, the further evidence Moscow’s increased Mena political ambitions.

In late February, Russian state oil company Rosneft inked deals in two new Middle East markets, increasing the regional reach not only of the firm itself but of Moscow too.

On 20 February Rosneft signed a crude offtake agreement with Libya’s state-owned National...