Kirkuk Oil Flowing, but Locals Never See Any Money

“Over the past two and half years, Kirkuk has fallen into debt to the tune of between a trillion (around US$766 million) and 100 million Iraqi dinars (around US$76,000),” says Jamal Mawloud, the head of the provisional council’s financial committee. “If the governments in Baghdad and Kurdistan don’t send us our budget, this financial crisis will continue on into 2016.”

In Kirkuk province there are five oil fields – the Jambour, Khabaza and Baba Gurgur fields, which are controlled by Iraq’s own North Oil company, part of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and headquartered in Kirkuk, and the other two fields – Bai Hassan and  Havana - which are run by Iraqi Kurdistan’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

According to figures published by various government bodies, Kirkuk province exports around 340,000 to 400,000 barrels of oil per day.

“The citizens of Kirkuk have been following up on Kirkuk’s provincial budget,” one official at the Ministry of Natural resources told NIQASH, on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to comment on the matter. “They are accusing everyone involved – the central government, the regional government and the governor of Kirkuk – of hiding the facts. These bodies have control of the oil and the budget and nobody knows anything about where the revenues are going.”

“The central government, the Iraqi Kurdish government and the governor of Kirkuk have all refused to respond to our enquiries about revenues coming from Kirkuk’s oil,” says Adham Juma, a member of new civilian action group on oil that founded two months ago. “That’s why citizens here believe that there is actually a secret agreement not to talk about Kirkuk’s oil money.”

“We have given the governor some time to come back to us with further information,” Juma continued. “If he does not clarify this, we will start organizing demonstrations and we are also going to try and impede the export of Kirkuk’s oil.”

NIQASH also tried to contact Kirkuk’s governor, Najmiddin Karim, but his office did not return the calls.

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