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Parliament oil committee named

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Parliament oil committee named Empty Parliament oil committee named

Post  Shilo on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:58 am

Parliament oil committee named
The new Parliament has approved members to the energy committee, which could shepherd major legislation including the stalled oil law.
Iraq Oil Report
January 28, 2011
Parliament oil committee named Maliki-Najaifi-presser-594x300
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi (L) and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki hold a press conference in Baghdad Dec. 20, 2010, after Maliki presented part of his new government to Parliament. (AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD - Parliament has named 16 people to the Oil and Energy Committee, which will be dominated by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s National Alliance block.

Leadership of the committee will go to either the Kurdistan Alliance, which represents Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern region, or the Iraqiya block, which is led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Whichever political block doesn’t head Parliament’s Legal Committee will get to name the Oil and Energy Committee chairman, officials said.

In the last parliament, the Oil and Gas Committee, as it was then known, was sent two key pieces of legislation – a draft law that would establish a legal framework for the oil sector, and a law that would re-establish Iraq’s national oil company. Both laws stalled after the committee returned them to the cabinet for changes, answers to questions, and political consensus on the bills prior to approval.

Iraq’s constitution calls for a suite of laws to establish the lines of authority over the oil sector. Without the clarity that such legislation would provide, foreign oil companies have encountered major legal hurdles – especially in Kurdistan, where disputes with Baghdad have stymied exports.

If any oil-related legislation is to be passed, it must filter through this committee, which has been renamed the Oil and Energy Committee.

“The priority of our work in this committee is to work on the oil and gas law,” said Bayazid Hassan, of the popular Kurdish breakaway Change movement, who is the sole incumbent on the committee. “This is because if it is approved, it will state the authorities of the federal government and the regions, which will include transparency in signing any deals, whether oil or gas.”

He said the committee will streamline the relationship between the central and regional governments.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has signed 40 deals with foreign oil firms. Baghdad calls the deals illegal, claiming it has the sole right to set the oil policy and sign such contracts. As a result of the dispute, the KRG has been unable to export through Iraq’s pipelines, which are controlled by Baghdad. Exports were briefly re-started in 2009, but that temporary agreement fell apart after four months.

The two sides reached another provisional rapprochement last week, agreeing to re-start exports as early as Feb. 1. That deal followed top-level meetings earlier this month between Maliki and KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih.

Although the two sides said they agreed to terms, details are being kept secret.

“Any deal and agreement between the federal government and the KRG is important and it will be reflected to the political process and also will make the work of the foreign companies, whether in the KRG rest of Iraq, quicker,” Hassan said.

The committee faces issues beyond the long-stalled oil legislation.

Hassan said his block questions all contracts signed without parliamentary approval, citing a 1980s law that defines Parliament’s role in allowing foreign investment. Such a review would encompass not only the KRG’s deals but also most of Baghdad’s contracts, which received approval from the cabinet but not the full Parliament.

“The contracts, whether in the KRG or the other contracts signed by the federal oil companies, should be approved by the Iraqi Parliament,” Hassan said.

Such sentiments foreshadow a contentious future for the committee, but its composition suggests continuity with Maliki’s recent policies. Eight of the 16 seats are held by the National Alliance, which includes Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which has three of the eight committee seats. Four are held by Iraqiya.

Maliki has made sure to keep a firm hand on the oil sector. His new oil minister, Abdul Karim Luaibi, is an ally, and his loyal former oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, has been elevated to deputy prime minister for energy.

Who leads the committee depends on the outcome of broader political negotiations. The leading Iraqiya candidate is former oil man Adnan Janabi. The top Kurdish candidates are Farhad Atroushi or Qasim Muhammed Qasim. Both are from the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani.

Below are the names, party affiliation and constituency of the new committee. It is based on incomplete information provided by both the Parliament and party members, and presented as the best known information to date.

Bahaa Hadi al-Deen Ahmed
National Alliance/State of Law/Dawa

Sewzan Aklawi Saleh Hamoud
National Alliance/Fadhila

Uday Awad Kadhim (Kazem) Mahmoud
National Alliance/Sadrist

Ali Dhari Ali Fayyad
National Alliance/State of Law/Independent

Rihab Ne’ima Maktouf Khashjouri
National Alliance/State of Law/Islamic Dawa Party (Iraq organization)/Independent

Awad Mohsen Mohmmed Radhi al-Awadi
National Alliance/Sadrists

Forat Mohsen Saeed Marzouk al-Shara
National Alliance/Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq

Fatima Salman Zbari Salem
National Alliance

Adnan Abdul Munim Rasheed Ali Janabi
Iraqiya Bloc

Khalil Zaidan Khalaf Hamada
Iraqiya Bloc/National Movement for Reform and Development/al-Hal
Diyala or Anbar

Ahmed Mohammed Hamdan Fadil
Iraqiya Bloc

Maysa Yahiyah Abdul Razak Yahiyah
Iraqiya Bloc/Iraqi National Movement

Farhad Amin Salim Omar al-Atroushi
Kurdish Coalition/Kurdistan Democratic Party

Qasim Mohammad Qasim Meshakhti
Kurdish Coalition/Kurdistan Democratic Party

Mutashar Hussein Alaiwi Yassin al-Sammaraie
Iraqi Accordance/Islamic Party
Salah al-Din

Bayazid Hassan Abdullah Mohammad
Kurdish Coalition/The Change Movement

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