The Iraqi Constitution
We undertake our work according to the principles enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution (PDF), which states that oil and gas belongs to all the people of Iraq in all the regions and governorates. According to Article 112 of the constitution, the federal government together with the producing governorates and regional governments, manage the oil and gas from present fields, as long as the federal government distributes revenues in a fair manner.
Article 112 also states that the federal government, together with the producing regional and governorate governments, will formulate strategic policies to develop the oil and gas, to achieve the highest benefit to the Iraqi people, using the most advanced techniques of market principles and encouraging investment.
Article 115 gives priority to the laws of the Kurdistan Region over federal laws, and is invoked when no agreement is reached on oil and gas management and revenue distribution.
The Kurdistan Oil and Gas Law
The Kurdistan Oil and Gas Law (PDF) was approved by the Kurdistan Parliament, on 6 August 2007. The law entered into force upon the assent of President Masoud Barzani on 9 August.
The Financial Rights Law
This law is officially called the Law of Identifying and Obtaining Financial Dues to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq from Federal Revenue (law no. 5 of 2013). It will form the legal basis for the settlement of outstanding revenue issues between the KRG and the federal government of Iraq.
The law outlines a mechanism for defining and then obtaining the outstanding revenues owed to the Kurdistan Region by the federal government since 2004. It states that if the federal government defaults on the payments then the KRG is authorized to sell oil produced in the Region to recover unpaid dues. It will also include items such as the KRG’s share of sovereign expenditure revenues owed to the Region’s security forces (the Peshmerga) and payments to the Region as compensation for damage done by the former regime.
The new law sets out a pathway to implement Iraq’s Constitution, and by implementing the Constitutional requirements for power and wealth sharing, everyone in Iraq will benefit, citizens and investors alike.
Model Production Sharing Contract and signed contracts
The KRG has made available a Model Production Sharing Contract (PSC), amended to take into account the Kurdistan Oil and Gas Law, and the signed exploration and production contracts awarded by the KRG.
In 2008, the KRG received an expert independent legal opinion (PDF) that confirms the KRG’s constitutional authority to manage the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas resources. The KRG asked for a formal independent legal opinion from Professor James R. Crawford, a professor of international law, through Clifford Chance, a multinational legal firm. Professor Crawford concluded, “The Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas Law is consistent with the Constitution of Iraq”.