Research | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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This section features reports and research by CDNR Team as well as useful resources on the oil and gas industry in Iraq and the region. 

Featured Report

Escaping the Rentier Model: Reforms in Iraq and the KRI

by Bilal Wahab and Djene Bajalan, January 2016

The Center for Development and Natural Resources' (CDNR) conference entitled: “Escaping the Rentier Model: Reforms in Iraq and Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI)”, held on January 21, 2016, brought to the fore the extent of the economic crisis facing Iraq and Kurdistan region. The basic cause of this crisis is relatively simple to discern. On the one hand, global oil prices have fallen by over 50 percent since mid-2014. This constitutes a major blow to the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) treasuries as oil rents account for over 90 percent of state income. On the other hand, pressures on the Iraqi treasury have increased greatly due to the costs associated with prosecuting the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), demographic pressures from internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, and a bloated public sector. In short, both Iraq and the KRG are incapable of balancing their budgets.

The inability of state institutions to anticipate and hence mitigate the current financial tsunami only serves to aggravate the crisis. Today people suffer due to lax policies and the uncontrolled spending of the past decade. To address this, the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments need a combination of both short-term solutions to deal with the immediate fall in revenue and longer term structural reforms in order to prepare for the next boom and bust cycle.   

The report summarizes the speeches and the discussions, and provides the recommendations and conclusions from the conference.


Iraq and KRG Energy Policies: Actors, Challenges and Opportunities

by Bilal Wahab, May 2014

Governance and management of Iraq’s hydrocarbon resources remain crucial in shaping Iraq’s post-Saddam nation-building efforts, and in contributing to economic and political development. Ever since oil was found in Iraq, the resource has had significant political, economic and social impact on this post-colonial nation. Control of oil has been requisite for ruling the country.

However, understanding and interpreting the constitution in practice by the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil has hampered the potential of Iraq’s energy sector. This report describes the challenges and tensions over petroleum policy between Baghdad and the KRG. The key players--national, regional and international-- and their goals are described. The report concludes by highlighting some opportunities for moving forward.

Click here to download or view the report in pdf format. 

Further Resources

About Iraq:

Iraq: Economist Intelligence Unit
CIA World Factbook Iraq
World Bank Iraq Overview

Iraq’s Oil:

KRG Ministry of Natural Resources Website
Iraq Ministry of Oil Website
Iraq Analysis - US Energy Information Administration

Iraq’s Oil Governance:

Iraq: Natural Resource Governance Institute
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: Iraq Overview
“Oil Revenues, Economic Growth and Decreased Violence had Little Impact on Iraq's Poor” by World Bank