ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Kurdistan Region needs to nationalize the oil and gas sector and rely on locals, experts say.
The Middle East Research Institute (MERI) organized a two-day Economic Forum in Erbil on Wednesday to discuss ways to save Kurdistan from the current economic crisis.
Taha Zangana, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Deputy Minister for Natural Resources (MNR), in a panel on Reforming the Energy Sector said that now the Kurdistan Region only produces 330 million meter square of gas in Khormor oil field which is used to generate power in 12 stations.
Zangana said that since the beginning of 2016, MNR has not bought gas for power generation. "In two years, our gas can be enough to generate 100 percent of power and 24 hours of electricity every day.”
Hawre Mansurbeg, a lecturer at Soran University stated that the KRG should create a national oil company to be partners with the international oil companies operating in the Kurdistan Region.
"It has been nine years that we are waiting for a national oil company to be created. The KRG is looking for better mechanisms to export oil,” he added.
“The local people should be allowed to work in the oil sector from the beginning of exploration and production of oil so locals have a chance to learn and gain skills from the beginning… before it’s too late,” Mansurbeg added.
Sherko Jawdat, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee for Oil and Gas, said that there was a plan in the Kurdistan Region parliament to create four national companies to manage the oil sector.
He revealed that “The first draft of the Kurdistan Company for Exploration and Production of oil and gas resolution was approved by the parliament, but the final vote on the resolution was suspended due to the current political deadlock.”
The other three companies were for oil transportation, sale and marketing, Jawdat said, “The purpose is to nationalize and institutionalize the national wealth.”
According to Jawdat, Kurdistan Region needs to institutionalize and monitor what we lack and what we control, and then reform the oil and gas sector.
The MERI Economic Forum is designed to engage policy- and decision-makers, academics and other international experts in a debate to promote economic reform in Iraq and Kurdistan Region.
Reporting by Baxtiyar Goran and Delovan Barwari
Editing by Ava Homa