A leaked intelligence document [edit: the link is in Spanish, so I can only take PJM at their word here] issued by Spain’s CNI spy agency in October warns that Russia is aggressively pursuing a plan to “monopolize access to energy supplies to Europe.” The report validates what many analysts have been saying for a long time, namely that Moscow is using Russian energy companies to gain geo-strategic control over northern, central and southern Europe.
Now Russia’s largest independent oil company, Lukoil, is negotiating the purchase of a 30 percent stake in Repsol YPF SA, Spain’s largest oil company. The deal, which is valued at 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion), calls for Lukoil to buy a 20 percent stake in Repsol from Sacyr Vallehermoso SA, a debt-laden Spanish construction company, and another 10 percent stake from La Caixa, a Catalan savings bank. Lukoil is now seeking financing in order to close the deal.
This is an issue on a totally different level than the Dubai ports deal controversy a while back. The Dubai company was an independent entity, not a state-owned company. There was no indication that Dubai would, or could, use the ports company to advance a national policy that was contrary to the interests of the West (indeed, Dubai has been a legitimate supporter of the US); on the contrary, Lukoil is a wholly-controlled sub-unit of a government that is at best unpredictable and untrustworthy. This deal will go through to the detriment of European security, and put Russia in a stronger bargaining place when it next decides to lash out at its non-NATO neighbors.