Iraqi PM Sudani forms committee to settle Erbil-Baghdad outstanding issues

The Iraqi Prime Minister has decided to form a dedicated committee to settle the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad, particularly for disputed oil and gas matter among the two sides.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani will for the committee to resolve Erbil-Baghdad’s outstanding issues as well as reach an agreement within the frame of the Iraqi constitution, according to a directive that has been issued by Primer’s office in mid-November.

The committee will be particularly dedicated to the contentious energy issue between the two sides, more specifically oil and gas, since Erbil’s independence exercise of the Kurdistan Region energy sector for years despite renewed Iraqi threats to take “legal” actions against it.

It will be also headed by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Mohammed Tamim and tasked with talks with delegations from the Kurdistan Region.

There have been years of attempts by the federal government to bring the Kurdistan Region’s energy revenues under its control, including local court rulings and threats of international arbitration.

This decision follows months of renewed disputes between Erbil and Baghdad after a February federal court ruling that deemed the legal foundations of the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas sector unconstitutional.

The oil ministry in Baghdad has since made fresh attempts to control revenue from the Kurdistan region, including summoning international energy firms operating there to a commercial court.

The Kurdistan Region government has repeatedly rejected the federal court ruling.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been developing oil and gas resources independently of the federal government, bringing dozens of international energy firms to invest, and in 2007 enacted its own law that established the directives by which the region would administer them.

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