Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s premier Nechirvan Barzani has rejected a decision by the Baghdad-based Iraqi parliament to halt the operations of a Kurdish company in Kirkuk oil fields.
Speaking during a press conference on Monday, Barzani said “we reject the decision by the Iraqi parliament to halt the works of a Kurdish company in the oilfields of kirkuk…the parliament has no right to that”.
“We have come up with a scrutiny formula for the sake of transparency,” Barzani said, referring to the dispute over Kurdistan’s oil exports and Baghdad’s recurrent demands to delineate quantities and revenues. He said that the scrutiny process began last year.
Barzani said audits by U.S. auditing firm Deloitte have proven that Kurdistan oil revenues “do not suffice to pay for the region’s public servants”.
Earlier on Monday, Iraq’s parliament voted for a bill submitted by the chamber’s energy committee, obliging the oil ministry to halt operations of Kurdish company KAR in Kirkuk, and to instead run the exports through state-owned firm SOMO.
The resolution provided for a thorough central bank scrutiny over the revenues from Kurdish fields.
Last Tuesday, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi, speaking during his weekly press conference, said Abadi said Kurdistan’s exports of oil over the past three months have stood at nearly 2 trillion Iraqi dinars (USD1.68 billion).
“Kurdistan secures more than 80 percent of its employees’ salaries from oil revenues,” said the prime minister.
“The region had promised to provide a statement with its revenues this year,” said Abadi. “There is a problem with employees’ numbers in Kurdistan, but that does not prevent the disbursing of salaries”.
Kurdistan has been demanding Baghdad to send delayed employee salaries as a crisis erupted between the two governments since the region voted for independence from Iraq in a September poll.
Baghdad, on the other hand, has demanded Kurdistan to speak out on revenues it made from oil exports, occasionally accusing the region’s government of exporting it illegally without the federal government’s oversight.