By Patrick M Schmidt.
The Russian state-owned oil company, Gazprom, is expected to launch exploration operations in Halabja province before the end of the year.
The province is located in the region of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and lays close to the Iran-Iraq border.
If they find enough oil reserves, the company will begin normal drilling operations.
In exchange for drilling in the region, Gazprom would have to provide a number of social services to locals as well as offer opportunities for local students to study energy related disciplines in Russia each year.