ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Oil Ministry on Tuesday responded to the Parliament’s decision to ban the Kurdish engineering firm Kar Group from operating in Kirkuk’s oilfields.
The Oil Ministry claimed the Kurdish firm “no longer carries out any work in the fields of Kirkuk,” adding that the Iraqi North Oil Company (NOC) was the only one operating the fields.
“The only body that carries out the rehabilitation and development of oilfields and facilities in the province of Kirkuk is the NOC,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The statement followed the Iraqi Parliament’s vote in a session on Monday which decided to ban Kar Group from operating oilfields in the disputed province as a crackdown on the Kurdistan Region continues in response to the independence referendum held last September.
The vote came after lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament claimed the Kurdish firm “refused to cooperate” with Iraq’s state-run NOC regarding the handing over of the Khurmala oilfield, Reuters reported.
The Parliament also granted NOC permission to take over production and export operations at the field which would likely increase Iraq’s oil production and crude exports.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry said Kar Group had “finally withdrawn” from fields in Kirkuk following the “redeployment of security forces” in the area, referring to the Oct. 16 military takeover by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias.
“The presence of Kar is limited to some employees in the control room for pumping stations only, and no more than 10 people for delivery of equipment to employees of NOC,” the Ministry statement claimed.
Meanwhile, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Monday criticized the Iraqi Parliament’s vote to ban Kar Group.
“The Iraqi Parliament has no right to issue resolutions to stop the work of companies,” he said during a press conference in Erbil.