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  1. Kurdistan Oil and gas disputes with Baghdad to be addressed once new KRG cabinet formed Sangar Ali | 8 hours ago Share share An oil field in Nasiriya, in southern Iraq. (Photo: Reuters/Atef Hassan) Kurdistan Iraq Erbil Baghdad Oil Gas A+AA- ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A delegatiom from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will visit Baghdad to discuss disputes over Iraqi oil once the new Kurdish government is formed, a member of parliament in the Iraqi capital said on Wednesday. Oil and gas shares and distribution have been the subject of a long-standing dispute between the KRG and the federal government of Iraq since 2003. Following the formation of the new Iraqi federal government in Oct. 2018, both Erbil and Baghdad agreed on the 2019 national budget bill, which requires the Iraqi government to deliver the salaries of KRG employees along with some financial compensation as the KRG hands over the export of 250,000 oil barrels per day (bpd) to the Iraqi oil marketing company – SOMO. Since the beginning of this year, the Iraqi federal government headed by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has delivered the salaries of the KRG employees on a monthly basis, but the KRG is yet to deliver the prescribed amount of oil to Baghdad as indicated in the Iraqi national budget bill. Over the past few weeks, many Iraqi lawmakers have complained in parliament about the delayed KRG oil transfers, questioning the silence of the Iraqi government in that regard. On Tuesday, Abdul-Mahdi, for the first time, issued a warning to the KRG for failing to meet its commitment in the delivery of oil to Baghdad. The warning came after pressure from multiple factions in the Iraqi parliament. A lawmaker for the largest Kurdish faction in the Iraqi Parliament says that once the new KRG cabinet is formed, which is expected to happen in June, an oil and gas delegation from the KRG will visit Baghdad to hold talks. “Today [Wednesday], we, as a group of Kurdish lawmakers, met with Abdul-Mahdi for a short period to discuss the matter. We couldn’t discuss things in details, but agreed that it would be best for the KRG delegation to visit Baghdad and address the issue,” Aram Balatayi, a member of Iraq’s Oil and Gas Parliamentary Committee, and spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) faction in Iraqi Parliament, was quoted as saying on the party’s official website. “The Kurdistan Region has an obligation to hand over the oil to Baghdad,” he continued. “For more than ten years, the Kurdistan Region put effort into and created policies for its oil sector, so it is not easy to now seamlessly hand over the industry to Baghdad. Either the Iraqi government should pay dues of oil companies in the region, or the Kurdistan Region has to sell its oil to pay off those dues. Kurdistan can’t just hand over the oil to Baghdad and Baghdad then refuse to pay the companies.” Balatayi noted that both Erbil and Baghdad could reach an agreement on who would pay the dues and debts of those companies. If it is the KRG, then the Kurdistan Region “has to continue selling its oil,” but should Baghdad decide to absorb those financial obligations, “then this is another subject, and we will have our say at that moment.” The Kurdish lawmaker also noted that Kurds do not have a representative in Iraq’s SOMO and are not sure if they would be given a seat at the table to represent their interests. “There is still an ideology of centralizing power in Baghdad. We have issues with that, and a mechanism should be developed to deal with this,” he added. Gulizar Rashid Sindi, the deputy head of the Kurdistan Region’s Energy and Natural Resource Parliamentary Committee, stated that both the Kurdistan Parliament and the new KRG cabinet should cooperate in this regard. “The Kurdistan Region urges the resolution of the energy question through dialogue and the proper mechanisms,” Sindi told the official KDP website. “The Kurdistan Region will not be bound by Baghdad’s request if it isn't in the interest of the people of Kurdistan.”https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/d227436b-1f58-4cc9-b560-4c8e64843239
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