Always something between Erbil and Baghdad

Kurdistan Alliance officials have said certain clauses in the draft 2010 budget law constitute an attempt to pressure the Kurdistan Regional Government because of oil contracts signed with global companies. Abd-al-Muhsin al-Sa’dun, member of the Kurdistan Alliance Bloc, has said that some clauses refer to imposing sanctions on governorates and regions where oil pumping stops for certain reasons. Back in October Kurdistan stopped oil exports because of continuing disputes with Baghdad. Though oil from the north may have to be exported through Iraqi government pipelines running to Turkey, giving Baghdad a stranglehold on the transport of oil produced there, Iraq needs all the revenue it can get to finance its reconstruction, civil service, and the provision of basic services.

Iraq oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani under fire

Hussain al-Shahristani is under fire for attempting to replace the current director of the Iraqi North Oil Company with an aide of his who, ostensibly, is a loyal political and economic partner.

Staff at North Oil threatened to go on strike and halt oil production if he goes ahead. According to Dubai’s Al-Sharqiyah, North Oil employees criticised Shahristani for appointing his own, personal, aides in the oil ministry and Iraq’s oil companies for the purposes of influencing the country’s oil contracts and revenues for personal and party-political purposes.

The Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) was founded in 1966 by the Iraqi government. It was empowered to operate all aspects of the oil industry in Iraq except for refining which was already being run by the Oil Refineries Administration (1952) and local distribution which was also already under government control.