BASRA - The Parliament Oil, Gas, and Natural Resources Committee is aiming to pass a long-delayed national oil law before the end of the year.
“The current status [of the law] is that we sent it back to the central government to make a few changes — upon their request — and we are waiting for the law to be sent back with these amendments so we review them in the committee, and start the process of reshaping the law and preparing it for a vote,” said Basra MP Ali Mashkoor, a member of the committee, speaking with Iraq Oil Report at his office in Basra.
Since the ratification of Iraq’s current constitution in 2005, lawmakers have been unable to pass a law defining the contours of governance of Iraq’s oil and gas. Such legislation could potentially help resolve long-standing disputes between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which have only been addressed through stop-gap measures for nearly two decades.
According to Mashkoor, who belongs to the Tasmim bloc, the recent finalizing of the Gas Growth Integrated Project (GGIP) between France’s TotalEnergies and the Iraqi government will bring major benefits for Basra by providing water injection to maintain pressure at oil field reservoirs, increasing gas processing, and hiking crude production at the Ratawi field.
One institution that is not expected to see the light of day any time soon is the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), Mashkoor said. Attempts to revive the state firm under former Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael were scuppered when Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court ruled that key articles in the law governing the company were unconstitutional.
“INOC cannot come back again, because the project has lost credibility and reliability, and the FSC’s decision is binding for all authorities and governments,” Mashkoor said.
A full transcript of the interview is available below for Iraq Oil Report subscribers.