Iraqi Kurdistan Region Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami (pictured) said that the shares of oil companies operating in the region have exceeded $3.5 billion. He stressed the importance of the oil and gas law’s enactment, and estimated that oil reserves in the three Kurdish governorates are at more than 45 billion barrels.
In an interview with Al-Hayat, Hawrami said that the negotiations with Baghdad will be in accordance with the law, which determines the Kurdistan region’s financial share of federal revenues. “The provincial government informed Baghdad at the beginning of this year that the investing companies requested more than $3.5 billion [in shares], and they are constitutionally entitled to this,” he said.
He denied Baghdad’s accusations that the region is exporting crude oil without coordinating with Baghdad, adding, “This is taking place under an agreement with Baghdad to export our production, on the condition that 50% of proceeds is deducted to pay companies’ dues, while the other 50% is kept by the state treasury. However, all the proceeds were seized.”
He denied rumors of smuggling, saying, “There is no oil smuggling, we do not accept such cheap accusations. What was claimed is a legal entitlement and it came because we forbid them from grabbing it.” He criticized the current management of the country’s imports, which “still follows the methods of the former regime and include laws that are imposed on us by force from the federal government.”
Hawrami demanded that the central government provide the region with the 55 million barrels of fuel “that we did not receive from 2004 to 2012, and that are needed for domestic consumption.”