Legal Roadblocks for Iraq's Oil?

UPI reports that lawmakers in Baghdad have been asked to ban future oil contracts until a federal law on the energy sector is passed.

Adnan Janabi, chairman of the Iraqi Parliament's Oil and Energy Committee, called on legislators to ban future oil contracts until they can pass a federal hydrocarbon law.

The country's Oil Ministry has 12 service contracts signed with foreign energy groups; those contracts came through three international licensing rounds that went ahead despite Iraq not having a federal hydrocarbon law.

Baghdad said the contracts are legitimate under a constitution enacted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that says only Cabinet approval is needed. Janabi, however, said there are various interpretations of the law, though he reportedly said that all oil contracts need the approval of Parliament.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in 2007 passed a unilateral oil and gas law in order to dole out contracts to foreign oil companies despite warnings from Baghdad that the contracts would be considered illegal.

(Source: UPI)

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