Four parties object to KRG-Rosneft deal inked without parliament approval
The Minister of Natural Resources for the Kurdistan Regional Government Ashti Hawrami and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin sign an oil agreement in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 2, 2017, as the Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani look on. Photo: KRG press office
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Four factions in the Kurdistan parliament in a joint statement on Saturday criticized a long-term agreement signed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Russian Rosneft for the exploration of oil, commerce and production of hydrocarbons, saying that without the legislature’s observation, the deal should not have been signed.
The Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU, Yekgirtu), Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM) said in the statement "It turned out according to the oil agreements the future of the Kurdistan Region is at stake.”
The statement added: "The Rosneft agreement should not have been signed in the absence of the parliament’s observation and interpretation. It is impossible not to know how much discount the Kurdistan Region has made for the price of oil to Rosneft. It is impossible not to know in what way Rosneft will become partner or possessor in these five oilfields and for how many years the deal is.”
The parties also asked to be informed of progress and payments made with respect to the initial deal signed between the KRG and Rosneft in February.
Russian oil giant Rosneft and the Kurdish government have signed a series of documents that aim to expand cooperation between the two sides "in exploration and production of hydrocarbons, commerce and logistics.”
A statement issued by Rosneft on Friday afternoon said that the documents were signed by Igor Sechin, Rosneft Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) ahead of a meeting between the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government, as part of the XXI St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, signed a series of agreements on widening their cooperation in exploration and production of hydrocarbons, commerce and logistics,” Rosneft’s statement detailed.
The deal is a continuation and strengthening of one signed between the MNR and Rosneft in February, a contract on purchase and sale of crude for 2017-2019.
Rosneft will gain access to the major regional transportation system with the throughput capacity of 700 thousand barrels per day, detailed the statement, "which is planned to be expanded up to 1 mln bbl per day by the end of 2017.”
The four opposition parties, who together hold 41 seats in the Kurdish parliament, said in their joint statement that signing the deal between the KRG and Russian giant Rosneft "is the extension of the agreements which brought this bad situation to Kurdistan.”
The statement went on to warn, "If it is not stopped or resolved, the Kurdistan Region, instead of heading towards independence, will suffer a great political and economic collapse.”
The four parties described the agreement as "political.”
They also claimed that part of the agreement is for oil from the disputed province of Kirkuk. "Have they discussed this matter with the central government? If the central government creates a problem, how will it be dealt with?”

The oil agreement also disturbed some Iraqi politicians.
"I think the negative consequences of this oil deal are more than its benefits,” Ghalib al-Shabandar, one of the founders of the Islamic Dawa Party told Rudaw. He expressed surprise that Russia was dealing independently with Erbil. "I think Russia will sensitively deal with this matter and does not make the decision easily.”

The Kurdistan Region is currently exporting around 650,000 barrels of oil per day and is expected to increase its exports, mainly to the Turkish Ceyhan port by pipeline.

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