Russian oil and gas firms continue to expand their footprint in the Middle East and North Africa. State-owned Rosneft is at the forefront. The firm is increasing its political leverage in the Kurdistan region in Iraq and is eyeing up a move into Iran.

Rosneft was a late addition to the list of foreign firms prequalified for IPC tenders by Iran. It was added alongside fellow Russian state-owned firms Gazprom Neft and Tatneft, private sector Zarubezhneft, and Azerbaijan state firm Socar in...