Iraq: A new chapter in the oil battle between Baghdad and Erbil

The Judicial Council in the Kurdistan region of Iraq announced, on Saturday, that the central government in Baghdad does not have the right to cancel the oil and gas law in the region, which means that it will remain in effect, in a new chapter of the dispute between the two parties.

The Federal Supreme Court in Iraq ruled last February that the oil and gas law in the Kurdistan region of Iraq was unconstitutional.

The Federal Court’s decision obligated the region to enable the Ministry of Oil and the Federal Financial Supervision Bureau to monitor oil and gas sales contracts in the region.

The decision means canceling the local law, which was enacted in 2007, as well as handing over oil production in the region to the federal government.

Oil revenues have always constituted a thorny issue in the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, and represented the headline of the dispute between the two parties for years.

According to media in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Local Judicial Council said in a statement: “The actions of the Kurdistan Regional Government related to the process related to oil and gas are consistent with what was stated in the Iraqi constitution issued in 2005, and that the provisions of the Oil and Gas Law did not specify the exploration, production and export of oil and gas from The exclusive privacy of the federal authorities as stated in Article 110 of the Iraqi constitution, so the provisions of the oil and gas law remain effective.

The statement added: “According to Article 122 of the Iraqi constitution, the federal government manages the oil and gas extracted from the current fields with the governments of the producing regions and governorates.”

He continued: “The distribution of revenues will be equitably among the population, with a quota set for the affected regions that were deprived by the previous regime.”

The statement concluded: “The court that issued decision 15 in February 2022 with the aim of repealing the oil and gas law in Iraqi Kurdistan does not have any constitutional authority, and that the oil and gas law in the Kurdistan region remains in force.”

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