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South Korea Oil Delegation to Visit Iraq
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A government and private sector delegation will travel to Iraq this week to seek the support of the Kurdistan Regional Government for the participation of South Korean companies in oil development projects there, the government said Monday.

The delegation will consist of 14 government and private sector officials, including from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Korea National Oil Corp. and SK Corp., the ministry said in a statement.

The officials will visit the country from Tuesday until Saturday, according to the statement.

The Kurdistan Regional Government rules over Iraqi Kurdistan, a region in northern Iraq relatively unscathed from the sectarian violence that has plagued the rest of the country.

Iraq is expected to hold international auctions this year offering 54 big oil blocks, the Korean commerce ministry said.

Earlier this month, Iraq completed drafting a hydrocarbons law that will allow foreign oil companies to start investing in Iraq's oil sector. The newly formed Iraqi National Oil Co. will oversee development.

Iraq has the world's third-biggest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Canada, but only about 10 percent of the country has been explored, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Resource-poor South Korea, the world's 10th-largest economy, imports virtually all of its oil.

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