Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) has signed an agreement with Uzbekneftegaz to explore oil fields in eastern Uzbekistan, the first of its kind between the two countries, South Korea''s energy ministry said on Monday.

Under the deal, KNOC will explore the two fields -Namangan-Tergachi and Chust-Pap - which are estimated to hold gas reserves of up to 10.5 million tons or crude reserves of 9.2 trillion tons, reported Uzreport.

The exploration period will last for five years in total, and production could begin as early as 2011 if the fields are proven profitable, it said.