Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Rosneft continued building its Middle East portfolio by signing an agreement with the Kurdish government of Iraq, media reports said.
An official from the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq "with knowledge of the deal" told news group Rudaw an agreement was signed with Rosneft on the sidelines of an international energy conference in London.
According to the report, it's the first deal ever for Rosneft in the Kurdish north of Iraq.
"It reflects the growing confidence of the international oil market in [Kurdish] crude," the government official was quoted as saying.
Though fighting against the Islamic State terrorist group has raged in nearby Mosul, the Kurdish region has been relatively isolated from the conflicts that have plagued Iraq for more than a decade.
The Kurdish government reported total crude oil production for September, the last full month for which it published data, was 562,878 barrels per day. Nearly all of that was sent to the export market.
Iraq, one of larger contributors to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, produced around 4.48 million barrels of oil per day on average in January.
Rosneft reported Monday that it started new drilling operations in Iraq, alongside a Chinese contracting partner, outside the Kurdish region. Meeting on the sidelines of the same energy conference in London earlier this week, the head of the National Oil Corp. of Libya met with Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin to lay the groundwork for investments in the Libyan oil sector.