Iraqi Kurdistan keeps signing new oil deals, despite the fact that Baghdad is against it. A South Korean consortium has signed an initial agreement to explore oilfields in Kurdistan in return for major construction projects in the region, officials said.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by visiting Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and a consortium led by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC).

The oilfields are believed to hold one to two billion barrels compared to South Korea’s total annual imports of some 800 million barrels, a KNOC spokesman said.

“We expect the deal to greatly contribute to securing energy sources for South Korea, as well as laying the ground for entering the construction market in the war-torn nation,” the corporation said in a statement.