• Iraq owes more than $22bn to international oil companies operating its central and southern fields
  • Federal government already owes $9bn to contractors for 2014 and is due to pay about $18bn to investors this year
  • Only $12bn has been allocated in 2015 national budget

Iraq has more than $22bn-worth of accumulated debts owed to international oil companies (IOCs) operating its central and southern fields, a member of the parliament’s oil and energy committee told Iraqi media.

Committee member Tariq Sadeq was reported in Shafaq News as saying the debt was owed to companies operating in the Basra, Missan and Wasit provinces.

“The debt accumulated on the Oil Ministry because of the financial crisis and the ministry has to find an agreement formula with the oil firms to end the debt problem,” said Sadeq.

The Washington-based IMF said in mid-March, after consulting the Iraqi leadership, that the federal government already owes $9bn to contractors for 2014 and is due to pay about $18bn to investors this year.

However, only $12bn has been allocated in the 2015 national budget to pay cost recovery and remuneration fees.

Feeling the pinch, the government has been forced into negotiations to amend service contracts with companies including the UK’s BP, Russia’s Lukoil, ExxonMobil of the US and China National Petroleum Corporation.

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