By John Lee.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) lobbied Iraq's prime minister on Wednesday to support Russian energy investment, according to a report from Reuters.
At talks with Nouri al-Maliki in Moscow, he also called for Russia to strengthen its presence in the OPEC state.
Gazprom Neft denied on Wednesday that it had frozen its contracts in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Russia's second-largest crude producer LUKoil is developing the West Qurna-2 oilfield, while mid-sized Bashneft has won the right to develop Block 12 along with UK's Premier Oil.
LUKoil also bought Statoil's share of West Qurna-2 in March, and CEO Vagit Alekperov said he would be open to taking a new partner on board.