BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region has signed a deal with Korean companies to construct two power plants. It's part of an oil exploration deal.

A statement says the $700-million transaction calls for Posco Engineering and Construction Ltd. to build a 300-megawatt steam power generation plant in Irbil in three to six months, and a 400-kilovolt power transformer in Sulaimaniyah within eight months.

It adds that Korea National Oil Corp., or KNOC, will finance the projects as part of its 2008 deal to explore for oil in eight blocks. They are expected to hold 7.2 billion barrels in reserves.

According to the 2008 agreement, KNOC will allocate some of its profits from oil finds for infrastructure projects.

Iraq's central government in Baghdad opposes unilateral Kurdish oil deals.