Iraq Much-Delayed Oil and Gas Law is
Martin Kobler, representative of UN Secretary
General in Iraq
Passing a much-delayed oil and gas law in the Iraqi parliament
is a top priority, and the UN has put together an internal
taskforce to tackle the issue, special envoy Martin Kobler said
The law, which would regulate Iraq's lucrative oil sector, and
rules on revenue-sharing between the central government and
Iraq's provinces have for years languished in parliament.
"There is an internal UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission
for Iraq) taskforce on this issue," Kobler said, acknowledging:
"It will take some time to develop expertise.
"We want to start with a discussion on the revenue-sharing, and
then the oil and gas law. The oil and gas law is a good entry
point to tackle some major issues -- the Arab-Kurd issue, the
issue of federalism. I would say it is the key. It gives you a
"And also, this country needs investment security. The solution
to the DIBs (disputed internal boundaries), where some of the
major unexploited oilfields are located, is a lot easier if
everyone knows how the revenue will be shared," he added.
Diplomats and analysts persistently point to a wide-ranging row
between Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and the central
government over a swathe of disputed territory, the sharing of
revenues, and the apportioning of powers, as one of the biggest
threats to the country's long-term stability.
Kobler listed his two other priorities as the selection of a new
electoral commission to organise provincial elections planned
for next year, and the creation of an upper chamber of
parliament, known as the federation council, which is referred
to in Iraq's constitution but has not yet been implemented.
Iraq has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of oil and 3.2
trillion cubic metres (111.9 trillion cubic feet) of gas, both
of which are among the largest in the world.
The country currently produces 3.2 million barrels per day of
oil, with resulting exports accounting for the lion's share of
government income. Baghdad aims to increase both figures