The wrangling over Iraq’s oil reserves continues, with no sign of the controversial Iraqi Oil Law being passed.
The Kurdish regional government’s oil deals with foreign companies drew sharp criticism yesterday in the Iraqi parliament, with some lawmakers saying the contracts set a dangerous precedent for the future of Iraq’s vast oil industry.
During the parliamentary session, Shiite lawmaker Waiel Abdul-Lateef described the unilateral Kurdish moves as a “dangerous issue” that could pave the way for other Iraqi provinces to sign contracts without the knowledge of the central government. “Provincial officials now can sign oil contracts and nobody can stop them,” he said.
Kurdish authorities have signed more than a dozen contracts with foreign companies amid objections by Oil Ministry officials in Baghdad, who consider the deals illegal
Kurdish lawmaker Saad Barazanji argued that the Kurdistan oil contracts are constitutional, accusing the oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, of failing to carry out his duties to stop the smuggling of Iraqi oil. “Such initiatives by Kurdistan government should be encouraged — not fought. Such contracts serve the interests of Iraq,” he said.
But what about the interests of the international oil companies? Don’t forget them…