The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plans to establish a new national oil company to develop its oil and gas resources, moving the region a step closer to independence from Baghdad.

Plans for the establishment of the Kurdistan National Oil Company (KNOC) have been submitted by the KRG’s Natural Resources Ministry to the Kurdish parliament for approval, along with a proposal to create a monetary fund to manage oil revenues.

Under the proposal, KNOC will account for just 3 per cent of the region’s total oil revenues, with international oil companies still producing the majority.

Oil revenues would go directly to the region’s citizens, with each family receiving as much as $1,200 when oil production reaches the KRG’s target of 1 million barrels a day (b/d) in 2015, according to the KRG’s Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami, speaking to the local Rudaw television news station.

The three provinces of the Kurdistan Region have just completed parliamentary elections with the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) securing the largest number of votes. The proposals will be up for discussion in the next parliament.

The oil revenues fund was first proposed in 2011 to manage and invest revenues from oil and gas sales from the Kurdish territories.

Baghdad has struggled to move ahead with legislation to reform the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC), which merged with the Oil Ministry in 1987. Since then, the Oil Ministry has been both the operator of Iraq’s oil sector and its regulator. Proposals to create the new oil company have been before parliament since 2007, but have not been passed.