stockings3333 Tuesday, 07/15/08 09:59:22 AM Re: None Post # of 1146 MP says KC gave thumbs down to oil & gas draft Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:26 pm BAGHDAD, July 13 (VOI) – An Iraqi legislator accused the Kurdistan Coalition (KC) of blocking the adoption of a draft law on oil & gas in the Iraqi Parliament, adding "this is a flagrant excess of the Iraqi Constitution." "We believe that the KC is trying to delay the adoption of the draft law on oil & gas for the ensuing effect of rescinding the contracts concluded by the Kurdistan Regional Government with the foreign corporations, consequently causing great embarrassment for the autonomous KRG with those companies, let alone the immense financial loss," Abdul-Hadi al-Hassani, a lawmaker from the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC), told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). The oil & gas draft, still a bone of contention between the autonomous Kurdish and central governments particularly as far as conclusion of oil contracts was concerned, provides that the ownership of oil and gas belongs to all Iraqi people in all provinces and regions. "If these contracts signed with foreign companies were repealed, the KRG would have issues with these companies, a matter that prompts the UIC to look forward to having politicians, including the Kurds, to broker a deal in the interest of the Iraqi economy," Hassani said. The UIC is the largest bloc in the Iraqi Parliament with 83 out of a total 275 seats, followed by the KC with 55 seats. "Article 39 of the oil & gas draft clearly stipulates that all oil contracts concluded prior to the adoption of the law shall be considered null and void," Hassani said. The government of Iraqi Kurdistan region had signed 15 contracts with foreign corporations last year whereby it granted concessions to those companies plus tax exemptions, a step considered then by the central government as serious. A political crisis popped up between the two sides. Baghdad's oil ministry then decided to deny all the companies that have signed these contracts with the KRG chances to invest in the rest of Iraqi areas. The adoption of the oil & gas draft by the Iraqi parliament, approved by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and referred to parliament in July 2007, was postponed due to the opposition of many influential parliamentary and political powers. The opposition argued that the draft law would grant unprecedented "concessions" to foreign investors in the construction of oil facilities and refineries as well as their investment for a period up to 50 years.