Last week, the hall of the Iraqi Council of Representatives once again hosted the gathering of the high ranking energy officials from Kurdistan Region and Baghdad for choosing a draft oil and gas law to be approved.
Kurdistan Regional Government's Natural Resources Minister, Iraqi Oil Minister, representatives of the Iraqi political groups and a representative of the Kurdistan Parliament met to share ideas about the issue.
Although the decision of choosing the draft should be the authority and responsibility of the parliament's oil and gas committee, due to the sensitivity and political disagreement about it, the committee cannot make such a decision without a political agreement and a green light from the political groups.
Qassim Mohammed, decision-maker at the Iraqi parliament's oil and gas committee, says "we don't see this as interference in the parliament's work and we thank them for assisting us in resolving this issue."
Both ministers agreed the meeting had been positive and were hopeful that they would have positive results.
Ashti Hawrami, KRG Minister of Natural Resources announced in a press conference that Baghdad would transfer the funds to KRG related to the payment of the oil companies producing oil in the region.
Baghdad had accumulated debts of IQD 1.5 trillion (approximately US$1.25 billion) for the region's oil producers. However, this crisis was relived on September 13th after Erbil and Baghdad signed a 9-article agreement for ending the problems.
According to the agreement Baghdad would release the payment to the KRG and the latter would resume its exports and increase the amounts as well.
Following this agreement Baghdad release part of the payments and KRG increased the exports from 140,000 barrels per day to 200,000 bpd.
Fazil Nabi, Iraqi deputy oil minister says that Kurdistan Region's oil companies payments for next year has been fitted into the country's 2013 budget draft, the amount of which is US$644 million.
Kurdistan Region has passed its regional oil and gas law in 2007 and since then it has signed some 50 production sharing contract with international oil and gas companies. This comes at a time when the Iraqi parliament could not pass the draft oil and gas law drafted the same year, and has since then been put on hold due to political disagreement between various political groups in Iraq and especially between Erbil and Baghdad.
Baghdad authorities have been claiming that natural resources have to be managed centrally and have labeled KRG oil deals illegal. KRG officials however, argue that according to the constitution Iraq is a federal country and federal regions have the right to manage their natural resources in the benefit of all the Iraqis.
Now the Iraqi parliament has three different drafts for oil and gas laws, one of which should be chosen and approved by the parliament.
Iraqi and Kurdish oil ministers have agreed to continue meetings till they make a decision in this regards.