Iraq's Supreme Court again delays Kurdistan oil export ruling

Iraq's Supreme Court again delays Kurdistan oil export ruling

Iraq's Supreme Court has announced on Wednesday another postponement of hearings for a lawsuit against the Kurdistan Region's oil exports to international markets, brought by Iraq's Oil Ministry.


On May 6, the hearing was also postponed at the request of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to allow them a chance to present their case.


A statement released on Wednesday complained that documentation the court previously requested and submitted by both sides "did not respond" adequately, and that the court, "after reviewing the answers, found that they did not focus on the points required to resolve the case."


Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud, who chaired the hearing, requested additional documentation to be submitted by Aug. 4 and scheduled the next hearing for Aug. 14.


The ruling will decide whether or not the Kurdistan Region is lawfully permitted to export oil, independent of the federal government, or whether it must turn over all oil produced in the region.


The KRG began to export its oil to international markets independently through Turkey’s Ceyhan port in 2014 after the Federal Government of Iraq cut the Region’s national budget share at the start of the same year.


The export of oil sparked tensions between Erbil and Baghdad. Oil revenue distribution has been one of the most pressing issues between the two governments.


The Oil Ministry's lawsuit demands that the KRG implement and apply the provisions of the constitution and relevant laws and hand over all its oil.


Wednesday's court statement also seemed to suggest that there was not sufficient legislation in the Iraqi Constitution to decide the case, stating that it was "under a law issued by the House of Representatives, and that law has not been issued to date."