Russia's Rosneft has expanded its business in the Middle East by signing two oil purchase deals in Libya and Iraq.

The firm signed a cooperation framework agreement with Libya’s state-owned firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) to buy crude oil.

As part of the agreement, the firms will establishment a joint working committee to assess opportunities in sectors including exploration and production.

The crude off-take agreement with Rosneft is part of NOC’s plan to encourage foreign investment in the country’s crude oil market.

NOC earlier announced its plan boost oil production capacity to 2.1 million barrels per day by 2022 with investment from foreign oil companies.

NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said: “We need the assistance and investment of major international oil companies to reach our production goals and stabilize our economy.

“This agreement with Russia’s largest oil company lays the foundations for us jointly to identify areas of cooperation. Working with NOC, Rosneft and Russia can play an important and constructive role in Libya.”

Separately, Rosneft has signed a deal with Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq to pre-finance crude oil purchase over the period 2017-2019.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said: “The off-take and supply of Kurdish crude oil into Rosneft's expanding worldwide refining system will further contribute to the increase in its effectiveness.”

The Russian firm said it will also study exploration and production opportunities in the Kurdish areas.

Image: Officials from Libya’s National Oil Corporation and Russia’s Rosneft. Photo: courtesy of N.O.C./National Oil Corporation of Libya.