Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s prime minister promised Kurdish parliamentarians during a meeting on Wednesday to allow them access to all documents related to the KRG’s controversial oil contracts, exports and revenues, said the head of the major opposition group in Kurdistan parliament.
In a meeting intended to mend fences with opposition groups in the parliament, PM Salih and KRG’s minister of energy and natural resources, Ashti Hawrami, explained in detail the oil contracts signed with foreign firms, and how the oil revenues were spent.
The meeting came after recent controversies over KRG’s handling of its oil business.
Reports by the local and international media have accused the KRG of exporting thousands of barrels of crude oil to Iran on a daily basis despite international sanctions on Tehran, a charge that the Kurdish government has vehemently denied.
Speaking to AKnews, Adnan Osman, the head of the major opposition bloc, Gorran (Change) said, “We stressed the need for the integrity, industry, energy and finance committees in the parliament to be able to investigate all the documents regarding oil contracts, exports and revenues and then hold a meeting in the parliament to discuss the outcomes.”
“Part of the discussion was what kind of a role the parliament should play in this matter and we said there needs to be more coordination between the government and parliament,” Osman added.
Osman said the oil and gas law passed by the Kurdistan parliament in 2007 has not taken effect yet and needs to be put to practice now.
KRG’s energy minister said during a press conference last week that the oil contracts signed by the KRG with 17 foreign firms are all constitutional.
He also said the Kurdistan Region has not exported crude oil to Iran, although the Iraqi Constitution allows it to do so.
Hawrami said the KRG spent $700 million in 2009 to buy gasoline from outside in order to operate power plants in Kurdistan. But thanks to the increase in domestic production, this year the regional government to date has only spent $80 million on fuel for the plants.
Hawrami added Kurdistan’s oil income does not exceed $200 million which is deposited at a special account in the KRG’s ministry of finance.
Following media report on Kurdistan’s oil, the Iraqi government said it will launch an inquiry into the matter and warned the KRG not to export crude oil without Baghdad’s consent.