Russia's fifth-largest crude producer Gazprom Neft has signed a deal to enter an oil project in Kurdistan region of Iraq, Interfax reported.
Russia's local newswire said that Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the world's top gas producer, Gazprom, secured 80 percent in the Halabja project, the company's third in Kurdistan.
"We are the operators of the project. Our immediate task is to map out an exploration and research program. Investments have not been defined yet. The exploration period will last 7 years," Interfax quoted Vadim Yakovlev, Gazprom Neft's first chief executive officer deputy, as saying.
He said that the field's reserves are estimated at between 80 million and 100 million tons.
Last week, Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said Gazprom Neft had signed new agreements with KRG, without disclosing details.
Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two Kurdistan blocks, Garmian and Shakal, last August. That followed moves by international oil firms to develop fields in the autonomous region that angered the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.
The Russian company also has a contract for the Badra oilfield, controlled by the government.
Yakovlev said Gazprom Neft has not been notified by the Iraqi central government of any wrongdoing.