Iraqi lawmakers across the political spectrum have criticized “overreaching” by Kurds, issuing a declaration yesterday opposing the self-ruled region’s foreign oil deals.
“There must be a formula for maintaining the unity of Iraq and the distribution of its wealth,” said secular lawmaker Osama al-Nijifi, reading from the declaration at a news conference. “Oil and gas are a national wealth and we are concerned about those who want to go it alone when it comes to signing deals,” he said.
With the proposed Iraqi Oil law still bogged down in dispute between the Kurds and the government, the Kurds have signed 15 production-sharing contracts with 20 international oil companies, most of them obscure.
Those contracts are considered illegal by the Iraqi Oil Ministry, which has threatened to exclude and blacklist participating international oil companies from future opportunities in other parts of Iraq.
A spokesman for the Kurdish region, Jamal Abdullah, said the contracts are legal and that no one has the authority to annul them. “We are going forward to develop this sector to serve our people, and anyone who has any complaint should file it to the federal court,” he said.
Could be an interesting few months…