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Iraq declares Kurdish oil law unconstitutional

The Kurdish Regional Government has been told to hand over all crude supplies

Iraq’s federal court has ruled that an oil and gas law regulating the oil industry in Iraqi Kurdistan is unconstitutional and demanded that Kurdish authorities hand over their crude supplies, according to official documents published online.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) enacted its own law in 2007, which established the directives by which the region would administer its oil and gas resources.

The main export route for KRG crude is a pipeline that runs from Iraq’s Kirkuk region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Court decision

The court decision, which was made public on 15 February 2022, stated that the Kurdish government in Erbil must hand over all crude from the KRG and neighbouring areas to the federal government, represented by the oil ministry in Baghdad.

The ruling declared KRG oil contracts with oil companies, foreign parties and states invalid. This includes exploration, extraction, export and sale agreements.

The ruling also stated that the oil ministry must be allowed to audit all agreements concluded by the KRG with oil and gas companies.

Kurdistan leader Masoud Barzani has rejected the court’s decision.

In a statement, he described the federal court’s opinion as “purely political” and contrary to the Iraqi federal constitution.

“The aim of [the court’s decision] is to antagonise the Kurdistan Region and the federal system in Iraq,” Barzani, the leader of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party, said.

“We hope that the governments of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region will be able to overcome the obstacles and agree on the oil and gas file,” Barzani added.

The semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan exports about 340,000 barrels of oil a day.

Federal Iraq is expected to export, on average, 3.3 million barrels a day this month.



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