Kurdish delegation headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani [L] meets with the management board of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, including Chief Executive Officer Igor Schein. Photo: KRG media office
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — A top Kurdish delegation headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has met with the management board of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, including Chief Executive Officer Igor Schein, in St. Petersburg Wednesday on the first leg of an official visit to the Russian Federation.
A statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said the meeting centred on cooperation between the KRG and Rosneft in the Kurdish energy sector and broader investment in the oil industry of the Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdish delegation was invited to Russia to take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday which brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, and senior government officials.
Prime Minister Barzani is also scheduled to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the three-day forum.
In February, the KRG signed a pre-financed contract with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft for the export of Kurdish crude oil. The landmark deal became the first time Kurdistan Region crude oil was to ship directly to a major oil refiner, a KRG official with knowledge of the deal told Rudaw at the time.
Rosneft plans to buy the Kurdish crude until 2019.
The deal with Rosneft is of particular importance as two US oil firms relinquished interest in a number of oil fields in the Kurdistan Region in recent years.
US oil giant Exxon Mobil pulled out of half of the six exploration blocks it operated in the Kurdistan Region last December.
The oil company walked away from its operations in the Qara Hanjeer, Arbat East, and Betwata blocks, according to the Iraq Oil Report journal citing Kurdistan's Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami and Exxon spokesperson Lauren Kerr.
"Some companies didn't meet contractual deadlines and according to the contract had to relinquish their areas," the minister was quoted as saying.
Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company after Exxon Mobil, relinquished its interest in the Rovi block north of Erbil at the end of 2015 but continued to test wells in the Sarta area.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the KRG had negotiated a $3 billion loan deal with Rosneft which was falsely attributed to the Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami.