Employees work on a drilling rig at the Rosneft company owned Samotlor oil field outside the West Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk, Russia, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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After reinventing itself as a major power in the Middle East by force in Syria, Russia is now using its other strong suit, energy, to expand its influence across the region.Over the past month alone, Russia brokered the first deal between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC nations in 15 years to cut oil production, secured a $5 billion investment by Qatar in oil giant Rosneft PJSC, and then saw Rosneft agree to pay as much as $2.8 billion for a stake in an Egyptian gas field.Russia has also rebuilt a strong relationship with Egypt through President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.The deal with the Qatar Investment Authority is also notable because Russia and Qatar have had a particularly difficult relationship.There was no mention in the statement of Aleppo or Syria, where Putin has been supporting President Bashar Assad.Haftar, already backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, has been gaining ground against rivals supported variously by Qatar, Turkey and the West. If he wins, the reward for Russia could be significant.
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