An oil facility in Kirkuk, a disputed province claimed by the Iraqi federal government and Kurdistan Regional Government. File photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Officials in the Kirkuk Provincial Council want to further explore how the acting governor will use petrodollar funds and have initiated a review process to that end.
For Kirkuk, 63 billion dinars ($53 million) was supposed to be designated for the petrodollar, according to the Iraqi budget for 2019. That equates to $4.42 million monthly.
“This is a very small amount of money, but we have accepted it anyway,” Kirkuk Provincial Council member Azad Jabari told Rudaw on Tuesday.
The so-called petrodollar money is paid to Kirkuk city for every exported barrel of oil from the two main fields in the province, Bay Hasan and Havana. Under the current terms of the compensation system, Kirkuk should receive $2 for each exported barrel — ignoring the back payments. It was originally $5 per barrel.
In March, Iraq’s oil ministry said it exported
3,063,972 barrels of oil from Kirkuk — equating to what should be $6.13 million in petrodollar payments to Kirkuk.
“445 billion dinars ($374 million) have been allocated to the entire province and areas of expenditure have been specified [yearly including the petrodollar]. But no details on how it should be spent are given, which is why we are meeting…” Jabari added.
Appointed Governor Rekan Saeed al-Jabouri had asked the council that 50 percent from the province’s petrodollar be dedicated to some projects. He has already been in hot water
over compensation projects.
The governors’ projects are centered on building roads, reconstruction, infrastructure, and medicines along with other health services.
“We listened to the opinions of all members and then decided to give them [the projects] a second review by projects and finance committees because the details of the projects were not complete. The projects were not transparent either,” Jamal Mawlud, who presided over the meeting as the council’s oldest member, said in a press conference following the meeting.
The review process will take two weeks and then the projects will be resubmitted to the provincial council to be debated, he added.
In today’s meeting, a decision was also made to activate all the council’s committees in order to do their work.
Before the federal takeover of Kirkuk, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) allocated $10 million to the province every month in lieu of the petrodollar.
City officials have in the past said
the disputed city is owed nearly $1 billion in compensation by Iraqi and Kurdish governments for exported oil since 2013.
Kirkuk holds some 10 percent of Iraq’s total oil reserves estimated at 140 billion barrels.
Reporting by Hardi Mohammed