EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

The following was published in full on EurActiv.com.

A Russian oil and gas company considered close to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has won participation in Hungary’s MOL petrochemical group, with the aim of taking over this key member of the Nabucco gas pipeline consortium, experts told EurActiv.

Speaking to EurActiv on condition of anonymity, international energy experts deplored the West’s “blindness” at what they described as a Kremlin attempt to interfere with EU plans to set up a foreign energy policy.

Austria, Germany and Italy were singled out as countries whose leaders “thought they were doing big business” with Russia, but had in fact been manipulated by the Kremlin.

The warnings came as the EU and Russia are preparing for a bilateral summit on 21-22 May, at which energy security issues are set to dominate the agenda.

MOL bid ‘politically motivated’

According to the experts, the Kremlin’s political motivations were laid bare when Russian oil company Surgutneftgas recently seized control of 21.2% of Hungarian petrochemical giant MOL.

Surgutneftgas, a secretive oil company known to be close to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has spent 1.4 billion euros on the deal, more than twice its market value, the experts pointed out, underscoring the move’s strategic dimension.

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