The Oil and Energy Parliamentary Committee will discuss the controversial oil contracts awarded by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq amid objections from the Federal Oil Ministry, it was announced on Monday.
The contracts were awarded in 2009 by the KRG, but were never officially recognized by the central government in Iraq, who said that only they had the right to sign such deals. There is confusion about whose jurisdiction this falls under, with Prime Minister Noori al Maliki giving mixed messages and the law unclear, according to a report from AKnews.
Furat al Sharei, a Member of Parliament who sits on the Oil and Energy Committee, accused the Oil Ministry of over reacting to the issue. He said that this situation highlights the legal and technical obstacles that hinder investment.
“All that needs to happen is, the contracts need simple reviews to make sure they are within the legal framework set by the Oil Ministry,” he said.
The Federal Oil Ministry last week renewed its rejection of the contracts awarded by the KRG to 40 companies, including Norwegian oil firm DNO, declaring them illegal. Oil exports resumed after nearly two years earlier this year after the KRG and the Iraqi Government reached a temporary agreement on exports.
The discussion of the contracts by the Oil and Energy Committee is seen as a positive move towards getting the contracts officially recognized, as relations between the autonomous region and the central government fray.
Much of the confusion stems from the failure of the last Iraqi Government to pass a new oil and gas law which would have seen the clearer demarcation of responsibilities of the different bodies. Currently the Oil Ministry and the Federal Oil Council have overlapping roles.