By Spencer Swartz, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The Iraq Kurdish parliament Monday approved the autonomous region's oil law, signaling that the Kurds are moving forward with their own petroleum policy as Iraq's federal oil plans languish in Baghdad.
"The law just passed a short while ago" Monday, Kurdish Oil Minister Ashti Hawrami told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Erbil, the Kurdish capital in northern Iraq.
"The legislation will now go to (the Kurdistan Regional Government's Prime Minister Nechirvan) Barzani".
Hawrami added: "We haven't passed this law to do nothing."
Hawrami said the law passed unanimously.
He added he remained hopeful that Baghdad would move forward with its long- stalled federal oil law, possibly in September, though he said the Kurds would carve out their own path in developing the region's hydrocarbons.
"Our petroleum law is done within the federal framework of the constitution."
The Kurdistan region's oil and gas law is separate from the federal equivalent that was submitted to the federal parliament in Baghdad earlier in July.
The Baghdad parliament adjourned debate on the federal hydrocarbon law until the beginning of September when the parliament meets again after the August recess.
In June, the KRG said it was planning to offer 40 new oil blocks to foreign companies. Hawrami said at the time that these oil blocks would be formally opened to competitive bidding once the Kurds' own petroleum law is approved by the parliament.
"The Kurdish oil law addresses the needs of all Iraqis," Hawrami added. "We ( the Kurds) want to set an example for all of Iraq."
The move paves the way for international oil companies to start investment in the region's oil and gas fields.
The Kurds' petroleum law gives the regional government the right to administer its oil wealth in the three northern governorates - Arbil, Suleimaniya and Dohouk - as well as what it called "disputed territories", referring to Kirkuk, one of Iraq's largest crude production hubs.
Kirkuk has been a disputed territory between the Kurds and successive central Iraqi governments. The Kurds want to annex Kirkuk to their own semi-autonomous rule as soon as possible while many politicians in Baghdad oppose this.
The Kurds are targeting oil production from the Kurdish region of 200,000 barrels a day in 2008 and a lofty 1 million barrels a day in five years time.
Iraqi Kurdish Parliament Approves Kurdish Oil Law - Oil Min - Source
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